Skip to main content

Full text of "U.S. Marine Operations In Korea, 1950-1953: Vol V, Operations In West Korea"

See other formats




Operations in West Korea 




Historical Division 
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps 
Washington, D. C, 1972 

Preceding Volumes of 
U. S. Marine Operations in Korea 

Volume I, "The Pusan Perimeter" 

Volume II, "The Inchon-Seoul Campaign" 

Volume III, "The Chosin Reservoir Campaign" 

Volume IV, "The East-Central Front" 

PCN 19000264000 

Library of Congress Catalogue Number: 55-60727 

For Sale by the Superintendent of Documents 
U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402-Price $4.50 (Cloth) 
Stock Number 0855-0059 


Mention THE Korean War and almost immediately it evokes 
the memory of Marines at Pusan, Inchon, Chosin Reservoir, 
or the Punchbowl. Americans everywhere remember the Marine 
Corps' combat readiness, courage, and military skills that were 
largely responsible for the success of these early operations in 
1950-1951. Not as dramatic or well-known are the important ac- 
complishments of the Marines during the latter part of the Korean 

In March 1952 the 1st Marine Division redeployed from the East- 
Central front to West Korea. This new sector, nearly 35 miles in 
length, anchored the far western end of I Corps and was one of 
the most critical of the entire Eighth Army line. Here the Marines 
blocked the enemy's goal of penetrating to Seoul, the South Korean 
capital. Northwest of the Marine Main Line of Resistance, less than 
five miles distant, lay Panmunjom, site of the sporadic truce nego- 

Defense of their strategic area exposed the Marines to continuous 
and deadly Communist probes and limited objective attacks. These 
bitter and costly contests for key outposts bore such names as Bunker 
Hill, the Hook, the Nevadas (Carson-Reno-Vegas), and Boulder 
City. For the ground Marines, supported by 1st Marine Aircraft 
Wing squadrons, the fighting continued until the last day of the 
war, 27 July 1953. 

The Korean War marked the first real test of Free World soli- 
darity in the face of Communist force. In repulsing this attempted 
Communist aggression, the United Nations, led by the United States, 
served notice that it would not hesitate to aid those nations whose 
freedom and independence were under attack. 

As events have subsequently proven, holding the line against 
Communist encroachment is a battle whose end is not yet in sight. 
Enemy aggression may explode brazenly upon the world scene, with 
an overt act of invasion, as it did in Korea in June 1950, or it may 




take the form of a murderous guerrilla war as it has more recently, 
for over a decade, in Vietnam. 

Whatever guise the enemy of the United States chooses or wher- 
ever he draws his battleline, he will find the Marines with their age- 
old answer. Today, as in the Korean era, Marine Corps readiness and 
professionalism are prepared to apply the cutting edge against any 
threat to American security, v 

L. F. Chapman, Jr. 
General, U.S. Marine Corps, 
Commandant of the Marine Corps 

Reviewed and approved: 12 May 1971. 


THIS IS the concluding volume of a five-part series dealing with 
operations of United States Marines in Korea between 2 August 
1950 and 27 July 1953. Volume V provides a definitive account of 
operations of the 1st Marine Division and the 1st Marine Aircraft 
Wing during 1952-1953, the final phase of the Korean War. At this 
time the division operated under Eighth U.S. Army in Korea (eusak) 
control in the far western sector of I Corps, while Marine aviators 
and squadrons functioned as a component of the Fifth Air Force 

The period covered by this history begins in March 1952, when 
the Marine division moved west to occupy positions defending the 
approaches to Seoul, the South Korean capital.. As it had for most of 
the war the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, operating under FAF, flew 
close support missions not only for the Marines but for as many as 
19 other Allied frontline divisions. Included in the narrative is a 
detailed account of Marine POWs, a discussion of the new defense 
mission of Marine units in the immediate postwar period, and an 
evaluation of Marine Corps contributions to the Korean War. 

Marines, both ground and aviation, comprised an integral part of 
the United Nations Command in Korea. Since this is primarily a 
Marine Corps history, actions of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force 
are presented only in sufficient detail to place Marine operations in 
their proper perspective. 

Official Marine Corps combat records form the basis for the book. 
This primary source material has been further supplemented by com- 
ments and interviews from key participants in the action described. 
More than 180 persons reviewed the draft chapters. Their technical 
knowledge and advice have been invaluable. Although the full details 
of these comments could not be used in the text, this material has 
been placed in Marine Corps archives for possible use by future 

The manuscript of this volume was prepared during the tenure 
of Colonel Frank C. Caldwell, Director of Marine Corps History, 




Historical Division, Headquarters Marine Corps. Production was ac- 
complished under the direction of Mr. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Deputy 
Director and Chief Historian, who also outlined the volume. Pre- 
liminary drafts were written by the late Lynn Montross, prime author 
of this series, and Major Hubard D. Kuokka. Major James M. 
Yingling researched and wrote chapters 1-6 and compiled the 
Command and Staff List. Lieutenant Colonel Pat Meid researched 
and wrote chapters 7-12, prepared appendices, processed photographs 
and maps, and did the final editing of the book. 

Historical Division staff members, past or present, who freely lent 
suggestions or provided information include Lieutenant Colonel John 
J. Cahill, Captain Charles B. Collins, Mr. Ralph W. Donnelly, Mr. 
Benis M. Frank, Mr. George W. Garand, Mr. Rowland P. Gill, 
Captain Robert J. Kane, Major Jack K. Ringler, and Major Lloyd E. 
Tatem. Warrant Officer Dennis Egan was Administrative Officer 
during the final stages of preparation and production of this book. 

The many exacting administrative duties involved in processing the 
volume from first draft manuscripts through the final printed form, 
including the formidable task of indexing the book, were handled 
expertly and cheerfully by Miss Kay P. Sue. Mrs. Frances J. Rubright 
also furnished gracious and speedy assistance in obtaining the tomes 
of official Marine Corps records. The maps were prepared by 
Sergeants Kenneth W. White and Ernest L. Wilson. Official Depart- 
ment of Defense photographs illustrate the book. 

A major contribution to the history was made by the Office of the 
Chief of Military History, Department of the Army; the Naval 
History Division, Department of the Navy; and the Office of Air 
Force History, Department of the Air Force. Military history offices 
of England, Canada, and South Korea provided additional details 
that add to the accuracy and interest of this concluding volume of 
the Korean series. 

F. C. Caldwell 
Colonel, US. Marine Corps (Retired) 
Director of Marine Corps History 



I Operations in West Korea Begin 1 

From Cairo to jamestown — The Marines' Home in West 
Korea — Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area — 
The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing — The Enemy- — Initial CCF 
Attack — Subsequent CCF Attacks — Strengthening the Line — 
Marine Air Operations — Supporting the Division and the 
Wing — Different Area, Different Problem 

II Defending the Line 51 

UN Command Activities — Defense of East and West Coast 
Korean Islands — Marine Air Operations — Spring 1952 on 
jamestown — End of the Second Year of War — A Long 
Fourth of July — Changes in the Lineup — Replacement and 
Rotation — Logistical Operations, Summer 1952 

III The Battle of Bunker Hill 103 

The Participants and the Battlefield — Preliminary Action on 
Siberia — The Attack on Bunker Hill — Consolidating the 
Defense of Bunker Hill — Company B Returns to Bunker Hill 
— Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill — In Retrospect 

IV Outpost Fighting Expanded 145 

From the Center Sector to the Right — Early September Out- 
post Clashes — Korean COPs Hit Again — More Enemy As- 
saults in Late September — Chinese Intensify Their Outpost 
Attacks — More pressure, More CAS, More Accomplish- 
ments — Rockets, Resupply, and Radios 

V The Hook 185 

Before the Battle — Preparations for Attack and Defense — 
Attack on the Hook — Reno Demonstration — Counterattack — 

VI Positional Warfare 217 

A Successful Korean Defense — Six Months on the UNC Line 
— Events on the Diplomatic Front — The Marine Commands 





During the Third Winter— 1st MAW Operations 1952-1953 
— Behind the Lines — The Quiet Sectors— Changes in the 
Concept of Ground Defense — Before the Nevadas Battle 

VII Vegas 263 

The Nevada Cities — Supporting Arms — Defense Organiza- 
tion at the Outposts — Chinese Attack on 26 March — Rein- 
forcements Dispatched — Massed Counterattack the Next Day 
— Push to the Summit — Other Communist Probes — Three 
CCF Attempts for the Outpost — Vegas Consolidation Be- 
gins — Aftermath 

VIII Marking Time (April-June 1953) 313 

The Peace Talks Resume — Operation little switch — Inter- 
val Before the Marines Go Off the Line — The May Relief — 
Training While in Reserve and Division Change of Com- 
mand — Heavy May-June Fighting — Developments in Marine 
Air — Other Marine Defense Activities — The Division Is 
Ordered Back to the Front 

IX Heavy Fighting Before the Armistice 363 

Relief of the 25th Division — Initial Attacks on Outposts 
Berlin and East Berlin — Enemy Probes, 11-18 July — Marine 
Air Operations — Fall of the Berlins — Renewal of Heavy 
Fighting, 24-26 July — Last Day of the War 

X Return of the Prisoners of War 399 

Operation big switch — Circumstances of Capture — The 
Communist POW Camps — CCF "Lenient Policy" and In- 
doctrination Attempts — The Germ Warfare Issue — Problems 
and Performance of Marine POWs — Marine Escape Attempts 
— Evaluation and Aftermath 

XI While Guns Cool 445 

The Postwar Transition — Control of the DMZ and the Mili- 
tary Police Company — Organization of New Defense Posi- 
tions — Postwar Employment of Marine Units in fecom 

XII Korean Reflection 475 

Marine Corps Role and Contributions to the Korean War: 
Ground, Air, Helicopter — FMF and Readiness Posture — 
Problems Peculiar to the Korean War — Korean Lessons 



A Glossary of Technical Terms and Abbreviations 537 

B Korean War Chronology 54l 

C Command and Staff List 549 

D Effective Strength, 1st Marine Division 

and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing 573 

E Marine Corps Casualties 575 

I'" Marine Pilots and Enemy Aircraft Downed in Korean War . . 577 

G Unit Citations (during 1952-1953 period) 579 

H Armistice Agreement 587 

Bibliography 611 

Index 617 



Maps and Sketches 


1 EUSAK Dispositions — 15 March 1952 9 

2 Western Korea— I Corps Sector— 1952-1953 14 

3 1st Marine Division Sector — 30 April 1952 23 

4 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Dispositions— 30 April 1952 ... 25 

5 2/5 Sector— 15-16 April 1952 35 

6 West Coast Island Defense Element — Summer 1952 .... 54 

7 East Coast Island Defense Element — Summer 1952 .... 57 

8 Objectives for 1/5 Attack— 9 May 1952 78 

9 1st Marines Sector of jamestown (Division Center) — 

8 August 1952 110 

10 2/1 Sector— 9-11 August 1952 115 

11 Bunker Hill Area— 2300, 12 August 1952 120 

12 Combat Outposts and Ambush Sites — 5 th Marines Sector 

(Division Right)— Early September 1952 151 

13 Combat Outposts — KMC Sector (Division Left) — 

5-7 September 1952 154 

14 7th Marines Sector (Division Right)— Early October 1952 . . 164 

15 "CCF Creeping Tactics"— March-October 1952 189 

16 Hook Sector of MLR— 1800, 26 October 1952 198 

17 Hook Penetrations— 26-27 October 1952 201 

18 Outpost Reno Attacks— 27 October 1952 204 

19 CCF Attack Against KMC Sector (Division Left) — 

31 October 1952 219 

20 Organization of Ground Defense— Winter 1952-1953 ... 252 

21 Typical Hill Defense (Cross Section)— Winter 1952-1953 . . 254 

22 5th Marines MLR Sector— 26 March 1953 266 

23 1st Marines MLR Sector (Division Center)— 26 March 1953 . 269 

24 COP Carson— March 1953 272 

25 COP Reno— March 1953 274 

26 COP Vegas— March 1953 277 


Illustrations xi 


27 Attack on 5th Marines Front— 26-30 March 1953 . . . 282 

28 25th Infantry Division Sector (Following Relief of the 

1st Marine Division)— 5 May 1953 330 

29 Eighth Army Sector— 1 January-27 July 1953 343 

30 7th Marines MLR Sector (Division Right) — Linear Defense — 

19-20 July 1953 380 

31 7th Marines MLR Sector— Defense-in-Depth— 20-21 July 1953 . 382 

32 7th Marines MLR Sector — Defense-in-Depth— 22-23 July 1953 . 384 

33 Eighth Army Front— 27 JuJy 1953 395 

34 POW Camps in which Marines Were Held 417 

35 1st Marine Division Post-Armistice Main Battle Position — 

30 September 1953 462 


Operations in West Korea Begin 

From Cairo to Jamestown — The Marines' Home in West 
Korea — Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area — The 
1st Marine Aircraft Wing — The Enemy — Initial CCF Attack 
— Subsequent CCF Attacks — Strengthening the Line — Marine 
Air Operations — Supporting the Division and the Wing — 
Different Area, Different Problem 

From Cairo to jamestown 1 

During THE latter part of March 1952, the 1st Marine 
Division, a component of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea 
(eusak), pulled out of its positions astride the Soyang River in 
east-central Korea and moved to the far western part of the country 
in the I Corps sector. There the Marines took over the eusak left 
flank, guarding the most likely enemy approaches to the South 
Korean capital city, Seoul, and improving the ground defense in 
their sector to comply with the strict requirements which the division 

1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: 1st Marine 
Division Staff Report, titled "Notes for Major General J. T. Selden, Commanding 
General, First Marine Division, Korea," dtd 20 Aug 52, hereafter Selden, Div. Staff 
Rpt; the four previous volumes of the series U.S. Marine Operations in Korea, 
1950-1953, namely, Lynn Montross and Capt Nicholas A. Canzona, The Pusan Peri- 
meter, v. I; The Inchon-Seoul Operation, v. II; The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, 
v. Ill; Lynn Montross, Maj Hubard D. Kuokka, and Maj Norman W. Hicks, The 
East-Central Front, v. IV (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1954-1962), 
hereafter Montross, Kuokka, and Hicks, USMC Ops Korea — Central Front, v. IV; 
Department of Military Art and Engineering, U.S. Military Academy, Operations in 
Korea (West Point, N. Y. : 1956), hereafter USMA, Korea; David Rees, Korea: The 
Limited War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1964), hereafter Rees, Korea, quoted 
with permission of the publisher. Unless otherwise noted, all documentary material cited 
is on file at, or obtainable through, the Archives of the Historical Division, Headquarters, 
U.S. Marine Corps. 



Operations in West Korea 

commander, Major General John T. Selden, had set down. Except 
for a brief period in reserve, the Marine division would remain in 
the Korean front lines until a cease-fire agreement in July 1953 
ended active hostilities. 

The division CG, Major General Selden, 2 had assumed command 
of the 25,000-man 1st Marine Division two months earlier, on 11 
January, from Major General Gerald C. Thomas while the Marines 
were still in the eastern X Corps sector. The new Marine commander 
was a 37-year veteran of Marine Corps service, having enlisted as a 
private in 1915, serving shortly thereafter in Haiti. During World 
War I he was commissioned a second lieutenant, in 1918, while on 
convoy duty. Between the two world wars, his overseas service had 
included a second assignment to Haiti, two China tours, and sea 
duty. When the United States entered World War II, Lieutenant 
Colonel Selden was an intelligence officer aboard the carrier Lexing- 
ton. Later in the war Colonel Selden led the 5th Marines in the New 
Britain fighting and was Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Division 
in the Peleliu campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general in 
1948 and received his second star in 1951, prior to his combat assign- 
ment in Korea. 

American concern in the 1950s for South Korea's struggle to pre- 
serve its independence stemmed from a World War II agreement be- 
tween the United States, the United Kingdom, and China. In De- 
cember 1943, the three powers had signed the Cairo Declaration and 
bound themselves to ensure the freedom of the Korean people, then 
under the yoke of the Japanese Empire. At the Potsdam Conference, 
held on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany in July 1945, the United 
States, China, 3 and Britain renewed their Cairo promise. 

When the Soviet Union agreed to join forces against Japan, on 8 
August, the USSR also became a party to the Cairo Declaration. 
According to terms of the Japanese capitulation on 11 August, the 
Soviets were to accept surrender of the defeated forces north of the 
38th Parallel in Korea. South of that line, the commander of the 

: Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of MajGen John T. Selden, Mar 54. 

3 China did not attend. Instead, it received an advance copy of the proposed text. 
President Chiang Kai-shek signified Chinese approval on 26 July. A few hours later, the 
Potsdam Declaration was made public. Foreign Relations of the United States: The 
Conferences at Cairo and Teheran, 1943 (Department of State publication 7187), 
pp. 448-449; The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference) , 1945, v. II 
(Department of State publication 7163), pp. 1278, 1282-1283, 1474-1476. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


American occupation forces would receive the surrender. The Rus- 
sians wasted no time and on 12 August had their troops in northern 
Korea. American combat units, deployed throughout the Pacific, did 
not enter Korea until 8 September. Then they found the Soviet 
soldiers so firmly established they even refused to permit U.S. occu- 
pation officials from the south to cross over into the Russian sector. 
A December conference in Moscow led to a Russo-American com- 
mission to work out the postwar problems of Korean independence. 

Meeting for the first time in March 1946, the commission was 
short-lived. Its failure, due to lack of Russian co-operation, paved 
the way for politico-military factions within the country that set up 
two separate Koreas. In the north the Communists, under Kim II 
Sung, and in the south the Korean nationalists, led by Dr. Syngman 
Rhee, organized independent governments early in 1947. In May of 
that year, a second joint commission failed to unify the country. As 
a result the Korean problem was presented to the United Nations 
(UN) . This postwar international agency was no more successful 
in resolving the differences between the disputing factions. It did, 
however, recognize the Rhee government in December 1948 as the 
representative one of the two dissident groups. 

In June 1950, the North Koreans attempted to force unification of 
Korea under Communist control by crossing the 38th Parallel with 
seven infantry divisions heavily supported by artillery and tanks. Act- 
ing on a resolution presented by the United States, the United Na- 
tions responded by declaring the North Korean action a "breach 
of the peace" and called upon its members to assist the South Ko- 
reans in ousting the invaders. Many free countries around the globe 
offered their aid. In the United States, President Harry S. Truman 
authorized the use of U.S. air and naval units and, shortly there- 
after, ground forces to evict the aggressors and restore the status 
quo. Under the command of General of the Army Douglas Mac- 
Arthur, then Far East Commander, U.S. Eighth Army occupation 
troops in Japan embarked to South Korea. 

The first combat unit sent from America to Korea was a Marine 
air-ground team, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, formed at Camp 
Pendleton, California on 7 July 1950, under Brigadier General Ed- 
ward A. Craig. The same day the UN Security Council passed a reso- 
lution creating the United Nations Command (UNC) which was to 
exercise operational control over the international military forces 


Operations in West Korea 

rallying to the defense of South Korea. The Council asked the 
United States to appoint a commander of the UN forces; on the 8th, 
President Truman named his Far East Commander, General Mac- 
Arthur, as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (Cin- 

In Korea the Marines soon became known as the firemen of the 
Pusan Perimeter, for they were shifted from one trouble spot to the 
next all along the defensive ring around Pusan, the last United Na- 
tions stronghold in southeastern Korea during the early days of the 
fighting. A bold tactical stroke planned for mid-September was de- 
signed to relieve enemy pressure on Pusan and weaken the strength 
of the North Korean People's Army (nkpa). As envisioned by 
General MacArthur, an amphibious landing at Inchon on the west 
coast, far to the enemy rear, would threaten the entire North Korean 
position south of the 38th Parallel. To help effect this coup, the UN 
Commander directed that the Marine brigade be pulled out of the 
Pusan area to take part in the landing at Inchon. 

MacArthur's assault force consisted of the 1st Marine Division, 
less one of its three regiments, 4 but including the 1st Korean Marine 
Corps (KMC) Regiment. Marine ground and aviation units were to 
assist in retaking Seoul, the South Korean capital, and to cut the 
supply line sustaining the nkpa divisions. 

On 15 September, Marines stormed ashore on three Inchon 
beaches. Despite difficulties inherent in effecting a landing there, 5 it 
was an outstandingly successful amphibious assault. The 1st and 5th 
Marines, with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW) assault squad- 
rons providing close air support, quickly captured the port city of 
Inchon, Ascom City to the east, and Kimpo Airfield. Advancing 
eastward the Marines approached the Han River that separates 
Kimpo Peninsula from the Korean mainland. Crossing this obstacle 
in amphibian vehicles, 1st Division Marines converged on Seoul 
from three directions. By 27 September, the Marines had captured 

4 The 7th Marines was on its way to Korea at the time of the Inchon landing. The 
brigade, however, joined the 1st Division at sea en route to the objective to provide 
elements of the 5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT). 

5 For a discussion of the hardships facing the landing force, see Montross and 
Canzona, USMC Ops Korea— Inchon, v. II, op. cit., pp. 41-42, 59-60, 62-64. 

c In World War II, the Japanese developed a logistical base east of Inchon. When 
the Japanese surrendered, the Army Service Command temporarily took over the 
installation, naming it Ascom City. Maj Robert K. Sawyer, Military Advisers in Korea: 
KMAG in Peace and War (Washington: OCMH, DA, 1962), p. 43». 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


the South Korean government complex and, together with the U.S. 
Army 7th Infantry Division, had severed the enemy's main supply 
route (MSR) to Pusan. In heavy, close fighting near the city, other 
United Nations troops pursued and cut off major units of the nkpa. 

Ordered back to East Korea, the Marine division re-embarked at 
Inchon in October and made an administrative landing at Wonsan 
on the North Korean coast 75 miles above the 38th Parallel. As part 
of the U.S. X Corps, the 1st Marine Division was to move the 5th 
and 7th Marines (Reinforced) to the vicinity of the Chosin Reser- 
voir, from where they were to continue the advance northward to- 
ward the North Korean-Manchurian border. The 1st Marines and 
support troops were to remain in the Wonsan area. 

While the bulk of the division moved northward, an unforeseen 
development was in the making that was to change materially the 
military situation in Korea overnight. Aware that the North Koreans 
were on the brink of military disaster, Communist China had de- 
cided to enter the fighting. Nine Chinese divisions had been dis- 
patched into the area with the specific mission of destroying the 1st 
Marine Division. 7 Without prior warning, on the night of 27 No- 
vember, hordes of Chinese Communist Forces (CCF, or "Chinese 
People's Volunteers" as they called themselves) assaulted the un- 
suspecting Marines and nearly succeeding in trapping the two Ma- 
rine regiments. The enemy's failure to do so was due to the military 
discipline and courage displayed by able-bodied and wounded Ma- 
rines alike, as well as effective support furnished by Marine aviation. 
Under conditions of great hardship, the division fought its way out 
over 78 miles of frozen ground from Chosin to the port of Hung- 
nam, where transports stood by to evacuate the weary men and the 
equipment they had salvaged. 

This Chinese offensive had wrested victory from the grasp of 
General MacArthur just as the successful completion of the cam- 
paign seemed assured. In the west, the bulk of the Eighth Army 
paced its withdrawal with that of the X Corps. The UNC established 
a major line of defense across the country generally following the 
38th Parallel. On Christmas Day, massed Chinese forces crossed 
the parallel, and within a week the UN positions were bearing the 
full brunt of the enemy assault. Driving southward, the Communists 

7 Montross and Canzona, USMC Ops Korea — Chosin, v. Ill, p. 161. 


Operations in West Korea 

recaptured Seoul, but by mid-February 1951 the advance had been 
slowed down, the result of determined Eighth Army stands from a 
series of successive defensive lines. 8 

Following its evacuation from Hungnam, the 1st Marine Division 
early in 1951 underwent a brief period of rehabilitation and training 
in the vicinity of Masan, west of Pusan. From there, the division 
moved northeast to an area beyond Pohang on the east coast. Under 
operational control of Eighth Army, the Marines, with the 1st Ko- 
rean Marine Corps Regiment attached for most of the period, pro- 
tected 75 miles of a vital supply route from attack by bands of 
guerrillas. In addition, the Marines conducted patrols to locate, trap, 
and destroy the enemy. The Pohang guerrilla hunt also provided 
valuable training for several thousand recently arrived Marine divi- 
sion replacements. 

In mid-February the 1st Marine Division was assigned to the U.S. 

IX Corps, then operating in east-central Korea near Wonju. Initially 
without the KMCs, 9 the Marine division helped push the corps line 
across the 38th Parallel into North Korea. On 22 April, the Chinese 
unleashed a gigantic offensive, which again forced UN troops back 
into South Korea. By the end of the month, however, the Allies had 
halted the 40-mile-wide enemy spring offensive. 

Once again, in May, the Marine division was assigned to the U.S. 

X Corps, east of the IX Corps sector. Shortly thereafter the Com- 
munists launched another major offensive. Heavy casualties inflicted 
by UNC forces slowed this new enemy drive. Marine, Army, and 
Ko'rean troops not only repelled the Chinese onslaught but immedi- 
ately launched a counteroffensive, routing the enemy back into 
North Korea until the rough, mountainous terrain and stiffening 
resistance conspired to slow the Allied advance. 

In addition to these combat difficulties, the Marine division began 
to encounter increasing trouble in obtaining what it considered 

s On 9 January 1951, General MacArthur was "directed to defend himself in suc- 
cessive positions, inflicting maximum damage to hostile forces in Korea subject to the 
primary consideration of the safety of his troops and his basic mission of protecting 
Japan." Carl Berger, The Korea Knot — A Military-Political History (Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1957), pp. 131-132, hereafter Berger, Korea Knot, 
quoted with permission of the publisher. 

The 1st KMC Regiment was again attached to the Marine Division on 17 March 
1951 and remained under its operational control for the remainder of the war. 
CinCPacFIt Interim Evaluation Rpt No. 4, Chap 9, p. 9-53, hereafter PacFlt EvalRpt 
with number and chapter. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


sufficient and timely close air support (CAS). Most attack and 
fighter aircraft of the 1st MAW, commanded by Major General 
Field Harris 10 and operating since the Chosin Reservoir days under 
Fifth Air Force (FAF), had been employed primarily in a program 
of interdicting North Korean supply routes. Due to this diversion 
of Marine air from its primary CAS mission, both the division and 
wing suffered — the latter by its pilots' limited experience in perform- 
ing precision CAS sorties. Despite the difficulties, the Marine divi- 
sion drove northward reaching, by 20 June, a grotesque scooped-out 
terrain feature on the east-central front appropriately dubbed the 

Eighth Army advances into North Korea had caused the enemy 
to reappraise his military situation. On 23 June, the Russian delegate 
to the United Nations, Jacob Malik, hinted that the Korean differ- 
ences might be settled at the conference table. Subsequently, United 
Nations Command and Communist leaders agreed that truce negoti- 
ations would begin on 7 July at Kaesong, located in West Korea 
immediately south of the 38th Parallel, but under Communist con- 
trol. The Communists broke off the talks on 22 August. Without 
offering any credible evidence, they declared that UNC aircraft 
had violated the neutrality zone surrounding the conference area. 11 
Military and political observers then realized that the enemy's over- 
ture to peace negotiations had served its intended purpose of per- 
mitting him to slow his retreat, regroup his forces, and prepare his 
ground defenses for a new determined stand. 

The lull in military offensive activity during the mid-1951 truce 
talks presaged the kind of warfare that would soon typify the final 
phase of the Korean conflict. Before the fighting settled into posi- 
tional trench warfare reminiscent of World War I, the Marines 
participated in the final UN offensive. In a bitter struggle, the divi- 
sion hacked its way northward through, over, and around the Punch- 
bowl, and in September 1951 occupied a series of commanding ter- 

10 Command responsibility of 1st MAW changed on 29 May 51 when Brigadier 
General Thomas J. Cushman succeeded General Harris. 

11 The Senior Delegate and Chief of the United Nations Command Delegation to the 
Korean Armistice Commission, Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, has described how 
the Communists in Korea concocted incidents "calculated to provide advantage for 
their negotiating efforts or for their basic propaganda objectives, or for both." Examples 
of such duplicity are given in Chapter IV of his book, How Communists Negotiate 
(New York: The MacMillan Company, 1955), hereafter Joy, Truce Negotiations, 
quoted with permission of the publisher. The quote above appears on p. 30. 


Operations in West Korea 

rain positions that became part of the Minnesota Line, the Eighth 
Army main defensive line. Beginning on the 20th of that month, it 
became the primary mission of frontline units to organize, construct, 
and defend positions they held on Minnesota. To show good faith 
at the peace table, the UNC outlawed large-scale attacks against 
the enemy. Intent upon not appearing the aggressor and determined 
to keep the door open for future truce negotiations, the United 
Nations Command in late 1951 decreed a new military policy of 
limited offensives and an aggressive defense of its line. This change 
in Allied strategy, due to politico-military considerations, from a 
moving battle situation to stabilized warfare would affect both the 
tactics and future of the Korean War. 

Even as Allied major tactical offensive operations and the era 
of fire and maneuver in Korea was passing into oblivion, several 
innovations were coming into use. One was the Marine Corps em- 
ployment of helicopters. First used for evacuation of casualties from 
Pusan in August 1950, the versatile aircraft had also been adopted 
by the Marine brigade commander, General Craig, as an airborne 
jeep. On 13 September 1951, Marines made a significant contribu- 
tion to the military profession when they introduced helicopters 
for large-scale resupply combat operations. This mission was fol- 
lowed one week later by the first use of helicopters for a combat 
zone troop lift. These revolutionary air tactics were contemporary 
with two new Marine Corps developments in ground equipment — 
body armor and insulated combat boots, which underwent extensive 
combat testing that summer and fall. The latter were to be especially 
welcomed for field use during the 1951-1952 winter. 

Along the Minnesota Line, neither the freezing cold of a Korean 
winter nor blazing summer heat altered the daily routine. Ground 
defense operations consisted of dispatching patrols and raiding 
parties, laying ambushes, and improving the physical defenses. The 
enemy seemed reluctant to engage UN forces, and on one occasion 
to draw him into the open, eusak ordered Operation clam-up across 
the entire UN front, beginning 10 February. Under cover of darkness, 
reserve battalions moved forward; then, during daylight, they pulled 
back, simulating a withdrawal of the main defenses. At the same 
time, frontline troops had explicit orders not to fire or even show 
themselves. 12 

- Col Franklin B. Nihart comments on draft MS, Sep 66, hereafter Nihart comments. 


Operations in West Korea 

It was hoped that the rearward movement of units from the front 
line and the subsequent inactivity there would cause the enemy to 
come out of his trenches to investigate the apparent large-scale 
withdrawal of TJNC troops. Then Marine and other EUSAK troops 
could open fire and inflict maximum casualties from covered posi- 
tions. On the fifth day of the operation, clam-up was ended. The 
North Koreans were lured out of their defenses, but not in the 
numbers expected, clam-up was the last action in the X Corps 
sector for the 1st Marine Division, which would begin its cross- 
country relocation the following month. (See Map 1.) 

Code-named Operation mixmaster, the transfer of the 1st Marine 
Division began on 17 March when major infantry units began to 
move out of their eastern X Corps positions, after their relief on line 
by the 8th Republic of Korea (ROK) Division. Regiments of the 
Marine division relocated in the following order: the 1st KMCs, 
1st, 7th, and 5th Marines. The division's artillery regiment, the 11th 
Marines, made the shift by battalions at two-day intervals. In the 
motor march to West Korea, Marine units traveled approximately 
140 miles over narrow, mountainous, and frequently mud-clogged 
primitive roads. Day and night, division transport augmented by a 
motor transport battalion attached from Fleet Marine Force, Pacific 
(FMFPac) and one company from the 1st Combat Service Group 
(CSG) rolled through rain, snow, sleet, and occasional good 

Marines employed 5,800 truck and DUKW (amphibious truck) 
loads to move most of the division personnel, gear, and supplies. 
Sixty-three flatbed trailers, 83 railroad cars, 14 landing ships, 2 trans- 
port aircraft, the vehicles of 4 Army truck companies, as well as 
hundreds of smaller jeep trailers and jeeps were utilized. The 
division estimated that these carriers moved about 50,000 tons 
of equipment and vehicles, 13 with some of the support units making 
as many as a dozen round trips. The mixmaster move was made 
primarily by truck and by ship 14 or rail for units with heavy 

13 Marine commanders and staff officers involved in the planning and execution of 
the division move were alarmed at the amount of additional equipment that infantry 
units had acquired during the static battle situation. Many had become overburdened 
with "nice-to-have" items in excess of actual T/E (Table of Equipment) allowances. 
Col William P. Pala comments on draft MS, 5 Sep 66, hereafter Pala comments. 

14 Heavy equipment and tracked vehicles were loaded aboard LSDs and LSTs which 
sailed from Sokcho-ri to Inchon. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


Impressive as these figures are, they almost pall in significance 
compared with the meticulous planning and precision logistics 
required by the week-long move. It was made, without mishap, over 
main routes that supplied nearly a dozen other divisions on the 
EUSAK line and thus had to be executed so as not to interfere with 
combat support. Although the transfer of the 1st Marine Division 
from the eastern to western front was the longest transplacement of 
any EUSAK division, mixmaster was a complicated tactical maneuver 
that involved realignment of UNC divisions across the entire Korean 
front. Some 200,000 men and their combat equipment had to be 
relocated as part of a master plan to strengthen the Allied front 
and deploy more troops on line. 

Upon its arrival in West Korea, the 1st Marine Division was 
under orders to relieve the 1st ROK Division and take over a sector 
at the extreme left of the Eighth Army line, under I Corps control, 
where the weaknesses of Kimpo Peninsula defenses had been of 
considerable concern to EUSAK and its commander, General James 
A. Van Fleet. As division units reached their new sector, they moved 
to locations pre-selected in accordance with their assigned mission. 
First Marine unit into the I Corps main defensive position, the 
Jamestown Line, was the 1st KMC Regiment attached to the divi- 
sion, with its organic artillery battalion. The KMCs, as well as l/ll, 
began to move into their new positions on 18 March. At 1400 on 
20 March, the Korean Marines completed the relief of the 15th 
Republic of Korea Regiment in the left sector of the MLR (main 
line of resistance) . Next into the division line, occupying the right 
regimental sector adjacent to the 1st Commonwealth Division, was 
Colonel Sidney S. Wade's 1st Marines with three battalions forward 
and 2/5 attached as the regimental reserve. Relief of the 1st ROK 
Division was completed on the night of 24-25 March. At 0400 on 
25 March the Commanding General, 1st Marine Division assumed 
responsibility for the defense of 32 miles of the Jamestown Line. 
That same date the remainder of the Marine artillery battalions also 
relocated in their new positions. 

As the division took over its new I Corps mission on 25 March, 
the Marine commander had one regiment of the 1st ROK Division 
attached as division reserve while his 5th Marines was still in the 
east. Operational plans originally had called for the 5th Marines, 
less a battalion, to locate in the Kimpo Peninsula area where it was 


Operations in West Korea 

anticipated Marine reserve units would be able to conduct extensive 
amphibious training. So overextended was the assigned battlefront 
position that General Selden realized this regiment would also be 
needed to man the line. He quickly alerted the 5th Marines com- 
manding officer, Colonel Thomas A. Culhane, Jr., to deploy his 
regiment, then en route to western Korea, to take over a section of 
the JAMESTOWN front line instead of assuming reserve positions at 
Kimpo as originally assigned. General Selden believed that putting 
another regiment on the main line was essential to carrying out the 
division's mission, to aggressively defend jamestown Line, not 
merely to delay a Communist advance. 

Only a few hours after the 5th Marines had begun its trans-Korea 
move, helicopters picked up Colonel Culhane, his battalion com- 
manders, and key regimental staff officers and flew them to the 
relocated division command post (CP) in the west. Here, on 26 
March, the regimental commander officially received the change in 
the 5th Marines mission. Following this briefing, 5th Marines officers 
reconnoitered the newly assigned area 13 while awaiting the arrival of 
their units. When the regiment arrived on the 28th, plans had been 
completed for it to relieve a part of the thinly-held 1st Marines line. 
On 29 March, the 5th Marines took over the center regimental sector 
while the 1st Marines, on the right regimental flank, compressed its 
ranks for a more solid defense. 

Frontline units, from the west, were the 1st KMCs, the 5th, and 
1st Marines. To the rear, the 7th Marines, designated as division 
reserve, together with organic and attached units of the division, had 
established an extensive support and supply area. As a temporary 
measure, a battalion of the division reserve, 2/7, was detached for 
defense of the Kimpo Peninsula pending a reorganization of forces 
in this area. Major logistical facilities were the division airhead, 
located at K-16 airfield, just southwest of Seoul, and the railhead 
at Munsan-ni, 25 miles northwest of the capital city and about five 
miles to the rear of the division sector at its nearest point. Forward 
of the 1st Marine Division line, outposts were established to enhance 
the division's security. In the rear area the support facilities, sec- 
ondary defense lines, and unit command posts kept pace with devel- 
opment of defensive installations on the MLR. Throughout the 1st 

15 Col Thomas A. Culhane, Jr. ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 16 Sep 59, 
hereafter Culhane ltr. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


Marine Division sector outpost security, field fortifications, and the 
ground defense net were thorough and intended to deny the enemy 
access to Seoul. 

The Marines' Home in Western Korea 16 

In western Korea, the home of the 1st Marine Division lay in a 
particularly significant area. (See Map 2.) Within the Marine 
boundaries ran the route that invaders through the ages had used 
in their drive south to Seoul. It was the 1st Marine Division's 
mission to block any such future attempts. One of the reasons for 
moving the Marines to the west 17 was that the terrain there had to 
be held at all costs; land in the east, mountainous and less valuable, 
could better be sacrificed if a partial withdrawal in Korea became 
necessary. At the end of March 1952, the division main line of 
resistance stretched across difficult terrain for more than 30 miles, 
from Kimpo to the British Commonwealth sector on the east, a 
frontage far in excess of the textbook concept. 

Although Seoul was not actually within the area of Marine Corps 
responsibility, the capital city was only 33 air miles south of the 
right limiting point of the division MLR and 26 miles southeast of 
the left. The port of Inchon lay but 19 air miles south of the western 
end of the division sector. Kaesong, the original site of the truce 
negotiations, was 13 miles northwest of the nearest part of the 1st 
Marine Division frontline while Panmunjom was less than 5 miles 
away and within the area of Marine forward outpost security. From 

10 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Mar 52; CIA, N1S 41B, South Korea, Chap I, Brief, Section 21, Military 
Geographic Regions, Section 24, Topography (Washington: 1957-1962) ; Map, Korea, 
1:50,000, AMS Series L 751, Sheets 6526 I and IV, 6527 I, II, III, and IV, 6528 
II and III, 6627 III and IV, and 6628 III (prepared by the Engineer, HQ, AFFE, 
and AFFE/8A, 1952-1954). 

17 The two other reasons were the weakness of the Kimpo defenses and abandonment 
of plans for an amphibious strike along the east coast. Montross, Kuokka, and Hicks, 
USMC Ops Korea, v. IV, p. 253. Planning for a Marine-led assault had been directed 
by the eusak commander, General Van Fleet, early in 1952. The Marine division CG, 
General Selden, had given the task to his intelligence and operations deputies, Colonel 
James H. Tinsley and Lieutenant Colonel Gordon D. Gayle. On 12 March General 
Van Fleet came to the Marine Division CP for a briefing on the proposed amphibious 
assault. At the conclusion of the meeting the eusak commander revealed his concern 
for a possible enemy attack down the Korean west coast and told the Marine com- 
mander to prepare, in utmost secrecy, to move his division to the west coast. Lynn 
Montross, draft MS. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


the far northeastern end of the JAMESTOWN Line, which roughly par- 
alleled the Imjin River, distances were correspondingly lengthened: 
Inchon, thus being 39 miles southwest and Kaesong, about 17 miles 

The area to which the Marines had moved was situated in the 
western coastal lowlands and highlands area of northwestern South 
Korea. On the left flank, the division MLR hooked around the 
northwest tip of the Kimpo Peninsula, moved east across the high 
ground overlooking the Han River, and bent around the northeast 
cap of the peninsula. At a point opposite the mouth of the Kong- 
nung River, the MLR traversed the Han to the mainland, proceeding 
north alongside that river to its confluence with the Imjin. Crossing 
north over the Imjin, JAMESTOWN followed the high ground on 
the east bank of the Sachon River for nearly two miles to where 
the river valley widened. There the MLR turned abruptly to the 
northeast and generally pursued that direction to the end of the 
Marine sector, meandering frequently, however, to take advantage 
of key terrain. Approximately 2 l / 2 miles west of the 1st Common- 
wealth Division boundary, the JAMESTOWN Line intersected the 38th 
Parallel near the tiny village of Madam-ni. 

Within the Marine division sector to the north of Seoul lay the 
junction of two major rivers, the Imjin and the Han, and a portion 
of the broad fertile valley fed by the latter. Flowing into the division 
area from the east, the Imjin River snaked its way southwestward 
to the rear of JAMESTOWN. At the northeastern tip of the Kimpo 
Peninsula, the Imjin joined the Han. The latter there changed its 
course from south to west, flowed past Kimpo and neighboring 
Kanghwa-do Island, and emptied eventually into the Yellow Sea. 
At the far western end of the division sector the Yom River formed 
a natural boundary, separating Kanghwa and Kimpo, as it ran into 
the Han River and south to the Yellow Sea. To the east, the 
Sachon River streamed into the Imjin, while the Kongnung emptied 
into the Han where the MLR crossed from the mainland to Kimpo. 

In addition, two north-south oriented rivers flanked enemy posi- 
tions opposite the Marines and emptied into major rivers in the 
Marine sector. Northwest of Kimpo, the Yesong River ran south 
to the Han; far to the northeast, just beyond the March 1952 
division right boundary, the Samichon River flowed into the Imjin. 

Although the rivers in the Marine division were navigable, they 


Operations in West Korea 

were little used for supply or transportation. The railroads, too, 
were considered secondary ways, for there was but one line, which 
ran north out of Seoul to Munsan-ni and then continued towards 
Kaesong. Below the division railhead, located at Munsan-ni, a spur 
cut off to Ascom City. Roads, the chief means of surface transport, 
were numerous but lacked sufficient width and durability for sup- 
porting heavy military traffic. Within the sector occupied by the 
Marines, the main route generally paralleled the railroad. Most of 
the existing roads south of jamestown eventually found their way 
to the logsitic center at Munsan-ni. Immediately across the Imjin, 
the road net was more dense but not of any better construction. 

From the logistical point of view, the Imjin River was a critical 
factor. Spanning it and connecting the division forward and rear 
support areas in March 1952 were only three bridges, which were 
vulnerable to river flooding conditions and possible enemy attack. 
Besides intersecting the Marine sector, the Imjin formed a barrier 
to the rear of much of the division MLR, thereby increasing the 
difficulty of normal defense and resupply operations. 

When the Marines moved to the west, the winter was just ending. 
It had begun in November and was characterized by frequent light 
snowfalls but otherwise generally clear skies. Snow and wind 
storms seldom occurred in western Korea. From November to March 
the mean daily minimum Fahrenheit readings ranged from 15° to 30° 
above zero. The mean daily maximums during the summer were 
between the upper 70s and mid-80s. Extensive cloud cover, fog, and 
heavy rains were frequent during the summer season. Hot weather 
periods were also characterized by occasional severe winds. Spring 
and fall were moderate transitional seasons. 

Steep-sided hills and mountains, which sloped abruptly into 
narrow valleys pierced by many of the rivers and larger streams, 
predominated the terrain in the I Corps sector where the Marines 
located. The most rugged terrain was to the rear of the JAMESTOWN 
Line; six miles northeast of the Munsan-ni railhead was a 1,948- 
foot mountain, far higher than any other elevation on the Marine 
or Chinese MLR but lower than the rear area peaks supporting the 
Communist defenses. Ground cover in the division sector consisted 
of grass, scrub brush, and, occasionally, small trees. Rice fields 
crowded the valley floors. Mud flats were prevalent in many areas 
immediately adjacent to the larger rivers which intersected the 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


division territory or virtually paralleled the east and western bound- 
aries of the Marine sector. 

The transfer from the Punchbowl in the east to western Korea 
thus resulted in a distinct change of scene for the Marines, who 
went from a rugged mountainous area to comparatively level ter- 
rain. Instead of facing a line held by predominantly North Korean 
forces the division was now confronted by the Chinese Communists. 
The Marines also went from a front that had been characterized by 
lively patrol action to one that in March 1952 was relatively dor- 
mant. With the arrival of the 1st Marine Division, this critical I 
Corps sector would witness sharply renewed activity and become 
a focal point of action in the UNC line. 

Organization of the 1st Marine Division Area 18 

"To defend" were the key words in the 1st Marine Division mission 
— "to organize, occupy, and actively defend its sector of Line 
jamestown" — in West Korea. General Selden's force to prevent 
enemy penetration of jamestown numbered 1,364 Marine officers, 
24,846 enlisted Marines, 1,100 naval personnel, and 4,400 Koreans 
of the attached 1st KMC Regiment. The division also had opera- 
tional control of several I Corps reinforcing artillery units in its 
sector. On 31 March, another major infantry unit, the Kimpo 
Provisional Regiment (KPR) was organized. The division then 
assumed responsibility for the Kimpo Peninsula defense on the west 
flank with this Marine-Korean force. 

A major reason for transfer of the 1st Marine Division to the 
west, it will be remembered, had been the weakness of the Kimpo 
defense. Several units, the 5th KMC Battalion, the Marine 1st 
Armored Amphibian Battalion, and the 13th ROK Security Battalion 
(less one company), had been charged with the protection of the 
peninsula. Their operations, although coordinated by I Corps, were 
conducted independently. The fixed nature of the Kimpo defenses 
provided for neither a reserve maneuver element to help repel any 

18 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalKpl 
No. 4, Chap. 9; IstMarDi'v, IstMar, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar ComdDs, Mar 52; 
1st KMC RCT Daily Intelligence and Operations Rpts, hereafter KMC Regt UnitRpts, 
Mar 52; Kimpo ProvRegt ComdDs, hereafter KPR ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

enemy action that might develop nor a single commander to coordi- 
nate the operations of the defending units. 

These weaknesses become more critical in consideration of the 
type of facilities at Kimpo and their proximity to the South Korean 
Capital. Seoul lay just east of the base of Kimpo Peninsula, sep- 
arated from it only by the Han River. Located on Kimpo was the 
key port of Inchon and two other vital installations, the logistical 
complex at Ascom City and the Kimpo Airfield (K-14). All of 
these facilities were indispensable to the United Nations Command. 

To improve the security of Kimpo and provide a cohesive, inte- 
grated defense line, CG, 1st Marine Division formed the inde- 
pendent commands into the Kimpo Provisional Regiment. Colonel 
Edward M. Staab, Jr., was named the first KPR commander. His 
small headquarters functioned in a tactical capacity only without 
major administrative duties. The detachments that comprised the 
KPR upon its formation were: 

Headquarters and Service Company, with regimental and com- 
pany headquarters and a communication platoon; 
1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, as supporting artillery; 
5th KMC Battalion; 
13th ROK Security Battalion (-) ; 

One battalion from the reserve regiment of the 1st Marine 

Division (2/7), as the maneuver element; 
Company A, 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion; 
Company B, 1st Shore Party Battalion, as engineers; 
Company D, 1st Medical Battalion; 
Reconnaissance Company (-), 1st Marine Division; 
Detachment, Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANG- 

LICO), 1st Signal Battalion; 
Detachment, 181st Counterintelligence Corps Unit, USA; 
Detachment, 6lst Engineer Searchlight Company, USA; and the 
163rd Military Intelligence Service Detachment, USA. 

The Kimpo Regiment, in addition to maintaining security of the 
division left flank, was assigned the mission to "protect supporting 
and communication installations in that sector against airborne or 
ground attack." 10 Within the division, both the artillery regiment and 

10 KPR ComdD, Mar 52, p. 13. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


the motor transport battalion were to be prepared to support tactical 
operations of Colonel Staab's organization. 

For defense purposes, the KPR commander divided the peninsula 
into three sectors. The northern one was manned by the KMC 
battalion, which occupied commanding terrain and organized the 
area for defense. The southern part was defended by the ROK Army 
battalion, charged specifically with protection of the Kimpo Airfield 
and containment of any attempted enemy attack from the north. 
Both forces provided for the security of supply and communication 
installations within their areas. The western sector, held by the 
amphibian tractor company, less two platoons, had the mission of 
screening traffic along the east bank of the Yom River, that flanked 
the western part of the peninsula. Providing flexibility to the defense 
plan was the maneuver unit, the battalion assigned from the 1st 
Marine Division reserve. 

The unit adjacent to the KPR 20 in the division line in late March 
was the 1st Korean Marine Corps Regiment, which had been the 
first division unit to deploy along jamestown. The KMC Regiment, 
command by Colonel Kim Dong Ha, 21 had assumed responsibility 
for its portion of jamestown at 0400 on 20 March with orders to 
organize and defend its sector. The regiment placed two battalions, 
the 3d and 1st, on the MLR and the 2d in the rear. Holding down 
the regimental right of the sector was the 1st Battalion, which had 
shared its eastern boundary with that of Colonel Wade's 1st Marines 
until 29 March when the 5th Marines was emplaced on the MLR 
between the 1st KMC and 1st Marines. 

The 1st Marines regimental right boundary, which on the MLR 
was 1,100 yards north of the 38th Parallel, separated the 1st Marine 
Division area from the western end of the 1st Commonwealth Divi- 
sion, then held by the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade. In late March, 
Colonel Wade's 2/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Thell H. Fisher) and 
3/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Spencer H. Pratt) manned the frontline 
positions while 1/1 (Lieutenant Colonel John H. Papurca), less 
Company A, was in reserve. The regiment was committed to the de- 
fense of its part of the division area and improvement of its ground 

20 The following month the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion would be added to 
the four regiments on line, making a total of five major units manning the IstMarDiv 
front. It was inserted between the Kimpo and 1st KMC regiments. 

21 Commandant, Korean Marine Corps ltr to CMC, dtd 20 Sep 66, hereafter 
CKMC ltr. 


Operations in West Korea 

positions. In the division center sector Colonel Culhane's 1/5 
(Lieutenant Colonel Franklin B. Nihart) and 3/5 (Lieutenant 
Colonel William S. McLaughlin) manned the left and right battal- 
ion MLR positions, with 2/5 (Lieutenant Colonel William H. 
Cushing) in reserve. The latter unit was to be prepared either to 
relieve the MLR battalions or for use as a counterattack force. 

It did not take the Marines long to discover the existence of serious 
flaws in the area defense which made it questionable whether the 
Allied line here could have successfully withstood an enemy attack. 
While his Marine units were effecting their relief of JAMESTOWN, 
Colonel Wade noted that "field fortifications were practically non- 
existent in some sections." 22 General Selden later pointed out that 
"populated villages existed between opposing lines. Farmers were 
cultivating their fields in full view of both forces. Traffic across the 
river was brisk." 23 A member of the division staff reported that there 
was "even a school operating in one area ahead of the Marine 
lines." 24 In addition to these indications of sector weakness, there 
was still another. Although the ROK division had placed three 
regiments in the line, when the two Marine regiments relieved them 
there were then more men on JAMESTOWN due to the greater per- 
sonnel strength of a Marine regiment. Nevertheless, the division 
commander was still appalled at the width of the defense sector 
assigned to so few Marines. 

At division level, the reserve mission was filled by Colonel Russell 
E. Honsowetz', 7th Marines, minus 2/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Noel 
C. Gregory) , which on 30 March became the maneuver force for the 
Kimpo Regiment. As the division reserve, the regiment was to be 
prepared to assume at any time either a defensive or offensive mis- 
sion of any of the frontline regiments. In addition, the reserve 
regiment was to draw up counterattack plans, protect the division 
rear, improve secondary line defenses, and conduct training, includ- 
ing tank-infantry coordination, for units in reserve. The 7th Marines, 
with 3/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Houston Stiff) on the left and 1/7 
(Lieutenant Colonel George W. E. Daughtry) on the right, was 
emplaced in the vicinity of the secondary defense lines, WYOMING 
and Kansas, to the rear of the 5 th and 1st Marines. 

22 IstMar ComdD, Mar 52, p. 2. 

IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, App IX, p. 1. 
24 LtCol Harry W. Edwards comments on preliminary draft MS, ca. Sep 59. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


Another regiment located in the rear area was the 11th Marines. 
Its artillery battalions had begun displacement on 17 March and 
completed their move by 25 March. Early on the 26th, the 11th 
Marines resumed support of the 1st Marine Division. While the 
Marine artillery had been en route, U.S. Army artillery from I Corps 
supported the division. With the arrival on the 29th of the adminis- 
trative rear echelon, the Marine artillery regiment was fully posi- 
tioned in the west. 

For Colonel Frederick P. Henderson, who became the division 
artillery commander on 27 March, operational problems in western 
Korea differed somewhat from those experienced in the east by his 
predecessor, Colonel Bruce T. Hemphill. The most critical difficulty, 
however, was the same situation that confronted General Selden — 
the vast amount of ground to be covered and defended, and the 
insufficient number of units to accomplish this mission. To the 
artillery, the wide division front resulted in spreading the available 
fire support dangerously thin. Placement of 11th Marines units to 
best support the MLR regiments created wide gaps between each 
artillery battalion, caused communication and resupply difficulties, 
prevented a maximum massing of fires, and made redeployment 
difficult. 25 

In making use of all available fire support, the artillery regiment 
had to guard not only against the duplication of effort in planning 
or delivery of fires, but also against firing in the Panmunjom peace 
corridor restricted areas, located near the sector held by the Marine 
division's center regiment. Moreover, the artillerymen had to main- 
tain a flexibility sufficient to place the weight of available fire support 
on call into any zone of action. 

Other difficulties were more directly associated with the nature of 
the sector rather than with its broad expanse. The positioning of the 
division in the west, although close to the coast, put the Marines 
beyond the range of protective naval gunfire. The sparse and inade- 
quate road net further aggravated the tactical and logistical problems 
caused by wide separation of units. Finally, the cannoneers had 
exceptionally heavy demands placed on them due to the restricted 
amount of close air support allocated to frontline troops under 
operational procedures employed by Fifth Air Force. This command 

25 Col Frederick P. Henderson ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 25 Aug 59, 
hereafter Henderson ltr I. 


Operations in West Korea 

had jurisdiction over the entire Korean air defense system, including 
Marine squadrons. 

Manning the main line of resistance also frequently presented 
perplexing situations to the infantry. There had been little time for 
a thorough reconnaissance and selection of positions by any of the 
frontline regiments. When the 1st Marines moved into its assigned 
position on the MLR, the troops soon discovered many minefields, 
"some marked, some poorly marked, and some not marked at all." 20 
Uncharted mines caused the regiment to suffer "some casualties the 
first night of our move and more the second and third days." 27 As 
it was to turn out, during the first weeks in the I Corps sector, mines 
of all types caused 50 percent of total Marine casualties. 

A heavy drain on the limited manpower of Marine infantry regi- 
ments defending Jamestown was caused by the need to occupy an 
additional position, an outpost line of resistance (OPLR). This 
defensive line to the front of the Marine MLR provided additional 
security against the enemy, but decreased the strength of the regi- 
mental reserve battalion, which furnished the OPLR troops. The 
outposts manned by the Marines consisted of a series of strongpoints 
built largely around commanding terrain features that screened the 
1st Marine Division area. The OPLR across the division front was, 
on the average, about 2,500 yards forward of the MLR. (See Map 3 ) 

To the rear of the main line were two secondary defensive lines, 
Wyoming and KANSAS. Both had been established before the 
Marines arrived and both required considerable work, primarily 
construction of bunkers and weapons emplacements, to meet General 
Selden's strict requirement for a strong defensive sector. Work in 
improving the lines, exercises in rapid battalion tactical deployment 
by helicopter, and actual manning of the lines were among the 
many tasks assigned to the division reserve regiment. 

Rear and frontline units alike found that new regulations affected 
combat operations with the enemy in West Korea. These restrictions 
were a result of the truce talks that had taken place first at Kaesong 
and, later, at Panmunjom. In line with agreements reached in 
October 1951: 

Panmunjom was designated as the center of a circular neutral zone of a 
1,000 yard radius, and a three mile radius around Munsan and Kaesong was 

20 Col Sidney S. Wade ltr to Deputy AsstCofS, G-3, HQMC, dtd 25 Aug 59- 
-~ Ibid. 


Operations in West Korea 

also neutralized, as well as two hundred meters on either side of the 
Kaesong-Munsan road. 28 

To prevent the occurrence of any hostile act within this sanctuary, 
Lieutenant General John W. O'Daniel, I Corps commander, ordered 
that an additional area, forward of the OPLR, be set aside. This 
megaphone-shaped zone "could not be fired into, out of, or over." 29 
It was adjacent to the OPLR in the division center regimental sector, 
near its left boundary, and took a generally northwest course. 
Marines reported that the Communists knew of this restricted zone 
and frequently used it for assembly areas and artillery emplacements. 

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing 30 

When the 1st Marine Division moved to western Korea in March 
1952, the two 1st Marine Aircraft Wing units that had been in 
direct support of the ground Marines also relocated. Marine Obser- 
vation Squadron 6 (VMO-6) and Marine Helicopter Transport 
Squadron 161 (HMR-161) completed their displacements by 24 
March from their eastern airfield (X-83) to sites in the vicinity of 
the new division CP. HMR-161, headed by Colonel Keith B. Mc- 
Cutcheon, set up headquarters at A-17, 31 on a hillside 3^ miles 
southeast of Munsan-ni, the division railhead, "using a couple of 
rice paddies as our L. Z. (Landing Zone)." 32 The squadron rear 
echelon, including the machine shops, was maintained at A-33, near 
Ascom City. About 2^ miles south of the helicopter forward site 
was an old landing strip, A-9, which Lieutenant Colonel William T. 
Herring's observation squadron used as home field for its fixed and 
rotary wing aircraft. (For location of 1st MAW units see Map 4.) In 
West Korea, VMO-6 and HMR-161 continued to provide air trans- 
port for tactical and logistical missions. Both squadrons were under 
operational control of the division, but administered by the wing. 
Commanding General of the 1st MAW, since 27 July 1951, 

2S Rees, Korea, p. 295. 

20 IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52, p. 7. 

30 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from PacFlt EvalRpt 
No. 4, Chap. 10; IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52; 1st MAW ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52. 

31 In Korea, fields near U.S. Army installations were known as "A"; major airfields 
carried a "K" designation; and auxiliary strips were the "X" category. 

32 MajGen Keith B. McCutcheon comments on draft MS, dtd 1 Sep 66. 


Operations in West Korea 

was Major General Christian F. Schilt, 33 a Marine airman who had 
brought to Korea a vast amount of experience as a flying officer. 
Entering the Marine Corps in June 1917, he had served as an enlisted 
man with the 1st Marine Aeronautical Company in the Azores dur- 
ing World War I. Commissioned in 1919, he served in a variety of 
training and overseas naval air assignments. As a first lieutenant in 
Nicaragua, he had been awarded the Medal of Honor in 1928 for 
his bravery and "almost superhuman skill" in flying out Marines 
wounded at Quilali. 34 During World War II, General Schilt had 
served as 1st MAW Assistant Chief of Staff, at Guadalcanal, was 
later CO of Marine Aircraft Group 11, and participated in the con- 
solidation of the Southern Solomons and air defense of Peleliu and 

As in past months, the majority of General Schilt's Marine air- 
craft in Korea during March 1952 continued to be under oper- 
ational control of Fifth Air Force. In turn, FAF was the largest 
subordinate command of Far East Air Forces (feaf), headquartered 
at Tokyo. The latter was the U.S. Air Force component of the Far 
East Command and encompassed all USAF installations in the Far 
East. The FAF-eusak Joint Operations Center (JOC) at Seoul co- 
ordinated and controlled all Allied air operations in Korea. Marine 
fighter and attack squadrons were employed by FAF to: 

Maintain air superiority. 

Furnish close support for ground units. 

Provide escort [for attack aircraft]. 

Conduct day and night reconnaissance and fulfill requests. 

Effect the complete interdiction of North Korean and Chinese Communist 
forces and other military targets that have an immediate effect upon the 
current tactical situation. 35 

Squadrons carrying out these assignments were attached to Marine 
Aircraft Groups (MAGs) 12 and 33. Commanded by Colonel 
Luther S. Moore, MAG-12 and its two day attack squadrons 
(VMF-212 and VMF-323) in March 1952 was still located in 
eastern Korea (K-18, Kangnung). The Marine night-fighters of 
VMF(N)-513 were also here as part of the MAG-12 group. 
Farther removed from the immediate battlefront was Colonel Martin 

33 Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of General Christian F. Schilt, USMC (Ret.), Jun 59 rev. 

34 Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (Washing- 
ton: Combat Forces Press, 1952), p. 26, hereafter Sherrod, Marine Aviation. 

35 1st MAW ComdD, Mar 52, p. 2. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


A. Severson's MAG-33, located at K-3 (Pohang), with its two 
powerful jet fighter squadrons (VMFs-115 and -311) and an 
attack squadron (VMA-121). A new MAG-33 unit was Marine 
Photographic Squadron 1 (VMJ-l), just formed in February 1952 
and commanded by Major Robert R. Read. 

In addition to its land-based squadrons, one 1st MAW unit was 
assigned to Commander, West Coast Blockading and Patrol Group, 
designated Commander, Task Group 95.1 (CTG 95.1). He in turn 
assigned this Marine unit to Commander, Task Element 95.11 (CTE 
95.11), whose ships comprised the West Coast Carrier Element. 
Marine Attack Squadron 312 (VMA-312) was at this time assigned 
to CTE 95.11. In late March squadron aircraft were based on the 
escort carrier USS Bairoko but transferred on 21 April to the light 
carrier Bataan. 36 Operating normally with a complement of 21 
F4U-4 propeller-driven Corsair aircraft, VMA-312 had the follow- 
ing missions: 

To conduct armed air reconnaissance of the West Coast of Korea from 
the United Nations front lines northward to latitude 39°/15' N. 
Attack enemy shipping and destroy mines. 

Maintain surveillance of enemy airfields in the Haeju-Chinnampo 
region. 37 

Provide air spot services to naval units on request. 

Provide close air support and armed air reconnaissance services as re- 
quested by Joint Operations Center, Korea (JOC KOREA). 

Conduct air strikes against coastal and inland targets of opportunity at 

Be prepared to provide combat air patrol to friendly naval forces operating 
off the West Coast of Korea. 

Render SAR [search and rescue} assistance. 

Because they were under operational control of Fifth Air Force, 
1st MAW flying squadrons, except those assigned to CTG 95.1 and 
1st Marine Division control, did not change their dispositions in 
March. Plans were under way at this time, however, to relocate one 
of the aircraft groups, MAG-12, to the west. 

On 30 March the ground element of the night-fighters redeployed 

30 Unit commanders also changed about this time. Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. 
Smith, Jr. assumed command of the Checkerboard squadron from Lieutenant Colonel 
Joe H. McGlothlin, on 9 April. 

;i7 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 10-75. The Haeju-Chinnampo region, noted in the 
surveillance mission, is a coastal area in southwestern North Korea between the 38th 
and 39th Parallels. 


Operations in West Korea 

from its east coast home field to K-8 (Kunsan), on the west coast, 
105 miles south of Seoul. Lieutenant Colonel John R. Burnett's VMF 
(N)-513 completed this relocation by 11 April without loss of a 
single day of flight operations. On 20 April the rest of MAG-12, 38 
newly commanded since the first of the month by Colonel Elmer T. 
Dorsey, moved to K-6 (Pyongtaek), located 30 miles directly south 
of the South Korean capital. 

Marine aircraft support units were also located at K-3 and at 
Itami Air Force Base, on Honshu, Japan. Under direct 1st MAW 
control were four ground-type logistical support units with MAG-33, 
a Provisional Automatic Weapons Battery from Marine Air Control 
Group 2 (MACG-2), and most of wing headquarters. This last 
unit, commanded by Colonel Frederick R. Payne, Jr., included the 
1st 90mm AAA Gun Battalion (based at Pusan and led by Colonel 
Max C. Chapman), and a detachment of Marine Transport Squa- 
dron 152 (VMR-152), which had seven Douglas four-engine R5D 
transports. This element and the wing service squadron were based 
at Itami. 

Marines, and others flying in western Korea, found themselves 
restricted much as Marines on the ground were. One limitation 
resulted from a FAF-eusak agreement in November 1951 limiting 
the number of daily close air support sorties across the entire Eighth 
Army line. This policy had restricted air activity along the 155- 
mile Korean front to 96 sorties per day. The curtailment seriously 
interfered with the Marine type of close air support teamwork 
evolved during World War II, and its execution had an adverse 
effect on Marine ground operations as well. A second restriction, 
also detrimental to Marine division and wing efficiency, was the 
prohibitive cushion Fifth Air Force had placed around the United 
Nations peace corridor area north of the Marine MLR. This buffer 
no-fly, no-fire zone which had been added to prevent violation of 
the UN sanctuary by stray hits did not apply, of course, to the 

3s VMFs-212 (LtCol Roert L. Bryson) and -323 (LtCol Richard L. Blume) left an 
east coast field for a flight mission over North Korea and landed at K-6 thereafter, also 
completing the move without closing down combat operations. The relocation in air- 
fields was designed to keep several squadrons of support aircraft close to the 1st Marine 
Division. Col E. T. Dorsey ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 7 Sep 66. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


The Enemy™ 

Directly beyond the 1st Marine Division sector, to the west and 
north, were two first-rate units of the Chinese Communist Forces, 
the 65th and 63d CCF Armies. Together, they totaled approximately 
49,800 troops in late March 1952. Opposite the west and center of 
the Marine division front was the 65th CCF Army, with elements 
of the 193d Division across from the KPR and the 194th Division 
holding positions opposing the KMC regiment. Across from the 
Marine line in the center was the 195th Division of the 65th CCF 
Army, which had placed two regiments forward. North of the divi- 
sion right sector lay the 188th Division, 63d CCF Army, also with 
two regiments forward. The estimated 15 infantry battalions facing 
the Marine division were supported by 10 organic artillery battalions, 
numbering 106 guns, and varying in caliber from 75 to 155mm. 40 
In addition, intelligence reported that the 1st CCF Armored Divi- 
sion and an unidentified airborne brigade were located near enough 
to aid enemy operations. 

Chinese infantry units were not only solidly entrenched across their 
front line opposite the Marine division but were also in depth. Their 
successive defensive lines, protected by minefields, wire, and other 
obstacles, were supported by artillery and had been, as a result of 
activities in recent months, supplied sufficiently to conduct continuous 
operations. Not only were enemy ground units well-supplied, but 
their CCF soldiers were well disciplined and well led. Their morale 
was officially evaluated as ranging from good to excellent. In all, the 
CCF was a determined adversary of considerable ability, with their 
greatest strength being in plentiful combat manpower. 

Air opposition to Marine pilots in Korea was of unknown quan- 
tity and only on occasion did the caliber of enemy pilots approach 
that of the Americans. Pilots reported that their Chinese counter- 
parts generally lacked overall combat proficiency, but that at times 
their "aggressiveness, sheer weight of numbers, and utter disregard 
for losses have counterbalanced any apparent deficiencies." 41 The 

39 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt 
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; IstMarDiv ComdD, Mar 52. 

40 The Korean Marine Corps placed the artillery count at 240 weapons ranging from 
57 to 122mm. CKMC hr. 

"PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 4^p. 10-38. 


Operations in West Korea 

Communists had built their offensive potential around the Russian 
MIG-15 jet fighter-interceptor. Use of this aircraft for ground sup- 
port or ground attack was believed to be in the training stage only. 
The Chinese had also based their air defense on the same MIG 
plus various types of ground antiaircraft (AA) weapons, particu- 
larly the mobile 37mm automatic weapons and machine guns that 
protected their main supply routes. In use of these ground AA wea- 
pons, enemy forces north of the 38th Parallel had become most pro- 
ficient. Their defense system against UNC planes had been steadily 
built up and improved since stabilization of the battle lines in 1951, 
and by March 1952 was reaching a formidable state. 

As the more favorable weather for ground combat approached 
toward the end of March, the CCF was well prepared to continue 
and expand its operations. Enemy soldiers were considered able to 
defend their sector easily with infantry and support units. Division 
intelligence also reported that Chinese ground troops had the capa- 
bility for launching limited objective attacks to improve their obser- 
vation of Marine MLR rear areas. 

Initial CCF Attack* 2 

Whether by intent or default, the Chinese infantry occupying the 
enemy forward positions did not interfere with the Marine relief. 
With assumption of sector responsibility by the division early on 
25 March, the initial enemy contact came from Chinese supporting 
weapons. Later that day the two division frontline regiments, the 
1st and 5th Marines, received 189 mortar and artillery shells in 
their sectors which wounded 10 Marines. One man in the 1st Marines 
was killed by sniper fire on 25 March; in the same regiment, another 
Marine was fatally wounded the following day. Forward of the 
lines, the day after the division took over, there was no ground 
action by either side. 

During the rest of the month, the tempo of activities on both sides 
increased. Marines began regular patrol actions to probe and ambush 
the enemy. Division artillery increased its number of observed mis- 
sions by the end of the month. By this time the CCF had also begun 

"Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 31, dtd 2 Apr 52. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


to probe the lines of the Marine regimental sectors. In these ground 
actions to reconnoiter and test division defenses, the Chinese became 
increasingly bold, with the most activity on 28 March. Between 25- 
31 March, the first week on jamestown, some 100 Chinese engaged 
in 5 different probing actions. Most of these were against the 1st 
KMC Regiment on the left flank of the division MLR. 

It was no wonder that the Chinese concentrated their effort against 
the Korean Marines, for they held the area containing Freedom 
Gate, the best of the three bridges spanning the Imjin. Both of the 
other two, X-Ray and Widgeon, were further east in the division 
sector. If the enemy could exploit a weak point in the KMC lines, 
he could attack in strength, capture the bridge, and turn the divi- 
sion left flank, after which he would have a direct route to Seoul. 48 
Without the bridge in the KMC sector, the division would be hard 
pressed, even with helicopter lift, to maneuver or maintain the regi- 
ments north of the Imjin. 

On 1 April, at about 2130, the CCF began pounding the front- 
line companies in the KMC area with an artillery preparation. A 
half hour later, the enemy attacked an outpost and the main line. 
First to engage the Chinese were the OPLR troops of the KMC 1st 
Company, 1st Battalion, on the regimental right. There, a Chinese 
company forced an opening between friendly outposts and reached 
a point about 200 yards short of the MLR and just north of a 
road leading to the main bridge over the Imjin. While this attack 
was in progress, another CCF company hit the outpost line further 
south. This attack, less successful, ended far short of the MLR and 
about a half-mile south of the bridge road. Both enemy companies 
withdrew at about 2345. 

To the left of the 1st Battalion, the 3d was receiving the brunt 
of this initial CCF attack. The 9th, 11th, and 10th Companies 
(deployed in that order from west to east, in the left battalion sec- 
tor) , had been engaged by the same preliminary 30-minute shelling. 
At 2200, when four CCF squads attacked the two companies on the 
left, an enemy company hit the left end of the 10th Company, occu- 
pied by the 2d Platoon. About midnight the South Koreans, under 
fire from both flanks and under heavy frontal assault, were forced 
to withdraw. In the rear, the company commander pulled the 1st 

J:: Henderson Itr 1. 


Operations in West Korea 

Platoon from the line, ordered the 3d to extend left to cover both 
sectors, and led a counterattack with the 1st Platoon and elements 
of the 2d. Positions were quickly restored by the KMC action. 

Soon after it had hurled the Chinese back across the OPLR, the 
1st Battalion was subjected to a second attack. An enemy unit, esti- 
mated to be a company, engaged a 1st Company platoon briefly. 
When the KMCs returned heavy defensive fires, the Communists 
pulled back but struck again at 0300. After a 20-minute fire fight, 
the Chinese company retreated. 

This action on 1-2 April cost the attackers 2 killed, 34 estimated 
killed, and 10 estimated wounded. For the KMC, casualties were 2 
killed, 10 wounded. To all 1st Division Marines, the successful 
defense by the 1st KMC regimental Marines was heartening. It had 
preserved not only the division western flank but also the vital link 
over the Imjin. 

Subsequent CCF Attacks 44 

Following his attempted assault against the KMC regiment, the 
enemy opposite the 1st Marine Division reverted to a passive defense. 
Except for a probe late on 2 April of the far eastern line held by 
Lieutenant Colonel Pratt's 3/1 and two patrols that scouted MLR 
positions in the western Korean Marine area that same date, Com- 
munist offensive measures consisted largely of artillery and mortar 
fire. Chinese line units appeared to concentrate on improving their 
dugouts and trench systems. Marines reported frequent sightings of 
enemy groups working in and around their forward trenches. 

Marine division troops, too, were busy fortifying their defensive 
positions. On the Kimpo Peninsula they dug gun emplacements and 
erected camp facilities for the newly activated Kimpo Provisional 
Regiment. North of the Han, mine clearance and construction of 
trenchworks and fortifications was the order of the day for most 
Marines. Other Marines patrolled forward of the lines as a major 
aspect of the division's continuous active defense. During daylight 
hours, MLR regiments dispatched reconnaissance and combat patrols 
and sent out snipers, armed with telescope-equipped M— 1 rifles. 

44 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section'is derived from: IstMarDiv, 
IstMar, 5thMar, KPR ComdDs, Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 35, dtd 16 Apr 52. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


Division tanks firing from temporary gun slots on the main line 
and artillery batteries emplaced in rear area dugouts hammered 
away at enemy positions and disposed of his patrols. At night, harass- 
ing and interdicting (H&I) artillery fires and infantry raids con- 
tinued to keep the Communists off-balance. 

A combat raid on 5 April typified the extensive Marine division 
night activities forward of the line. Conducted by three platoons, 
less a squad, of the KMC 10th Company, the raiding party had the 
mission of capturing prisoners. Departing the MLR at 2300, the 
Korean Marines worked their way over the low ground and then 
crossed the Sachon River. Immediately thereafter the raid leader, 
who was the 10th Company commander (First Lieutenant No Won 
Keun) dispatched two squad-sized ambushes along the patrol route. 
The raiders then continued northwest toward their objective, an area 
near the village of Tonggang-ni, a half mile beyond the river. When 
about 50 yards from its objective, the patrol ran into tactical wire 
and an enemy sentry, who alerted his unit by rifle fire. The KMC 
raiders opened up and called in pre-planned mortar and artillery 
support. The CCF defenders replied immediately with rifles and 
machine gun fire. 

To complete the maneuver, the patrol leader positioned his ma- 
chine guns to fire on the Communist flanks and directed one platoon 
to prepare for a frontal assault on the defenders. At 0148, the 1st 
Platoon attacked from the right. A minute later the 2d Platoon 
charged headlong at the defenders. Hand-to-hand fighting followed 
until the Chinese broke contact and disappeared into bunkers within 
the trenchline. From inside, the CCF soldiers continued the battle, 
firing through gun revetments and wounding several KMC pursuers 
in the legs. After 30 minutes had passed, the South Korean assault 
troops observed enemy reinforcements moving in from the north- 
west. At 0230, the Marine patrol withdrew under the cover of artil- 
lery, reaching its battalion MLR at 0400. The raiders brought back 
seven civilians found in the area and several Russian-made carbines. 
At the cost of 2 killed and 18 wounded, the KMCs inflicted casual- 
ties totaling 12 counted killed and 25 estimated wounded. 

Other division patrols similarly took into custody civilians living 
between the MLR and OPLR. It was also the job of these patrols 
to destroy buildings that the enemy had used. On the night of 5 
April, 5th Marines patrols apprehended 34 civilians, and a wounded 


Operations in West Korea 

enemy soldier. The day before, a patrol from 2/1 had also captured 
a Chinese soldier. 

On 12 and 13 April, the enemy stepped up his ground actions. 
He launched two probes against the 5th Marines occupying the cen- 
ter regimental sector. Both attempts were beaten back. The 1st Ma- 
rines on the extreme right flank encountered little hostile activity, 
but in the western KMC sector, Chinese shelling increased noticeably. 
The following day the artillery picked up again, accompanied by 
several infantry probes directed against the two KMC frontline bat- 
talions. To the right, the Chinese also tested 5th Marines lines 
again. On the far right, in the area held by the 1st Marines, an air 
alert was sounded from 0410 to 0726, but no enemy aircraft 
appeared. By mid-month, the Chinese were dispatching fewer infan- 
try probes but firing a greater number of artillery and mortar shells 
toward the division line. The enemy even sent 25 rounds to Kimpo, 
where a total of only 4 had fallen during the first two weeks in April. 

Ushering in the second half of April was another Communist 
attack, this one on 15-16 April and to be the last that month against 
the central part of the Marine Division sector. This attempt to 
breach the Marine lines was directed against Company E of 2/5, 
manning an outpost position on the OPLR. The rest of the battalion 
was now holding the left sector of the center regimental front, hav- 
ing assumed its new mission on line three days earlier in relief of 
1/5, which reverted to the role of regimental reserve. Northwest of 
the 5th Marines MLR, the Company E commander, Captain Charles 
C. Matthews, had placed a reinforced rifle platoon. His Marines had 
occupied several dug-in positions near the top of a 400-foot hill, 
known as Outpost 3 (OP 3). (See Map 5.) The platoon had been 
improving this outpost area and fortifications so that the bunkers 
could be employed for living and fighting. 45 During the afternoon 
and again at dusk on 15 April the Communists had shelled this loca- 
tion. One Marine was wounded in the second firing. 

At 2330 on 15 April, Company E reported that a green flare cluster 
had just burst over Hill 67, approximately 1,900 yards southwest of 
OP 3 and just beyond the OPLR. This signal triggered a 20-minute 
heavy enemy preparation of 76mm artillery and 120mm mortars on 
the friendly outpost and its supporting mortar position. Ten minutes 

Chapter III discusses in detail the construction of bunkers. 


Operations in West Korea 

before midnight, another green flare exploded over the same height, 
and the shelling stopped. After five minutes the signal reappeared. 
Immediately thereafter, the Chinese shifted their artillery and mortar 
fire to an area west of the OP 3 mortar site and north of a Com- 
pany F observation post. At the same time, the enemy attacked Out- 
post 3. 

Initially, the Chinese struck the Marine defenses in a frontal assault, 
but as the fighting progressed enemy forces quickly enveloped the 
outpost and charged it simultaneously from three sides. The vastly 
outnumbered Marine defenders withdrew into a tight perimeter at 
the southeastern corner of the outpost where their defending fire- 
power prevented the enemy from seizing the position. Within 15 
minutes the enemy had surrounded the Marines and severed the out- 
post communications, but could not take the outpost. The CCF sol- 
diers then pulled back and let their artillery soften OP 3 while they 
regrouped for another assault. The Chinese soon stormed the outpost 
a second time, but were again unsuccessful. Moreover, they lost three 
of their men who were captured by the tenacious 2/5 defenders. 

The fighting continued until 0315, reaching a hand-to-hand clash 
at one stage. In addition to mortar and artillery fire, the enemy 
employed small arms, automatic weapons, hand and stick-type gre- 
nades, bangalore torpedoes, and 57mm recoilless rifles. During the 
attack, patrols were sent out from the MLR and OP 2, to the west, 
to reestablish contact and help with casualty evacuation. 

Well to the rear of the outpost and unknown to its occupants, 
intelligence personnel intercepted a Chinese message ordering the 
Communists to withdraw. Immediately, friendly artillery fired on all 
known escape routes available to the attackers. Despite this interdict- 
ing fire, the enemy soldiers managed to withdraw without further 
loss. Their unsuccessful thrust against the 2/5 OPLR cost the Chinese 
25 known killed, 25 estimated killed, 45 known wounded, and 3 
prisoners. Marine casualties were 6 killed, 5 missing, and 25 wounded 
and evacuated. 40 

Why the Chinese had selected OP 3 for their mid-April attack is 
not known. Several theories, however, have been advanced by those 

46 One of those wounded was Corporal Duane E. Dewey, a machine gunner. He was 
wounded twice, in fact, the second time from an exploding enemy grenade which he had 
rolled upon to shield two nearby comrades. Dewey somehow survived, and the following 
March, after release from the Marine Corps, he went to the White House where he 
received the Medal of Honor, the first to be presented by the new President, Dwight D. 
Eisenhower. (Duane E. Dewey Biog. File) 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


involved in the action. Colonel Culhane, the regimental commander, 
believed that the enemy incursion "was the direct result of the aggres- 
sive patrols that frequently used the outpost as a point of departure. 
..." 47 Brigadier General Merrill B. Twining, the assistant division 
commander since 22 March, declared that the position was too large 
for a reinforced platoon to hold. 48 Perhaps the Chinese had harbored 
the same thoughts before the night of 15-16 April. 

Just before its OPLR was withdrawn in favor of an observation 
line, the 1st Korean Regiment was struck by the Chinese in the area 
immediately north of the 1-2 April clash. Beginning at 0100 on 17 
April, the enemy placed a 15-minute preparatory fire on the left flank 
of the 3d Battalion, occupying the regimental right sector. The CCF 
then probed friendly lines in and around the area pounded during 
the preliminary fires. Three separate attacks took place before 0400, 
when the Communists withdrew. In these probes, the Chinese made 
free use of automatic weapons; the enemy's well-coordinated action 
attested to their training and discipline. Confirmed casualties were 
36 CCF and 2 Koreans killed. The KMCs suffered 5 wounded and 
estimated that 70 Chinese had been wounded. Although the South 
Koreans frequently called down artillery support during the attack, 
most of the casualties inflicted on the enemy were from rifle and 
machine gun fire. The 17 April probe was to mark the last major 
infantry action for the 1st Marine Division during its second month 

Throughout the month a total of 5,000 rounds of artillery fire and 
3,786 rounds of mortar fire fell in the division sector. On 2 April 
the greatest volume for any single day was received: 3,000 artillery 
and 118 mortar rounds. An average day's incoming, during April, 
was approximately 167 artillery and 125 mortar rounds. 

Strengthening the Line 49 

Even before the Communists had launched their mid-April attacks 
against jamestown, the 1st Marine Division had implemented plans 

47 Culhane llr. 

48 LtGen Merrill B. Twining ltr to Deputy Asst CofS, G-3, HQMC, dtd 19 Aug 54. 

49 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFll Eval 
Rp/No.4, Chap. 9; IstMarDiv ComdD, Apr 52; KMC Regt UnitRpt 46, dtd 17 Apr 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

to strengthen its line in western Korea. Besides the digging, timber- 
ing, and sandbagging to accomplish a major improvement of the 
physical defenses, General Selden required Marine infantry regi- 
ments to conduct an aggressive defense of their sector of respon- 
sibility. He ordered MLR units to employ snipers all along james- 
town and to dispatch daily patrols forward of the line to ambush, 
raid, kill, or capture Chinese and their positions. The division com- 
mander further directed that supporting arms such as artillery, tank, 
and air, when available, be used to destroy hostile defenses, harass 
the enemy, and break up his assemblies as well as to protect Marine 

As a result of an I Corps directive, the 1st Marine Division 
assumed responsibility for an additional 6,800 yards of front on 
14 April from the 1st Commonwealth Division sector to the right 
of the division. In preparation, the 5th Marines had taken over the 
western end of the 1st Marines sector, held by 2/1, two days earlier. 
On the 14th the 1st Marines, newly commanded by Colonel Walter 
N. Flournoy, 50 extended its line eastward to assume new limiting 
points and part of the MLR in the western part of the Canadian 
Brigade sector. Relief of the Commonwealth unit was completed 
without any difficulty or enemy interference. This additional yardage, 
plus the Kimpo Peninsula front, now stretched the Marine division 
MLR to 3 5 J/2 mi les. 

As a result, General Selden found it necessary to withdraw the 
division general outpost line in order to build up his main line of 
resistance. On 17 April, the 1st KMC Regiment reduced its OPLR 
to an OPLO (outpost line of observation) and the left battalion 
pulled its MLR back to more defensible ground. The Marine division 
center and right regiments withdrew their outpost lines on 23 and 
24 April. Both regiments then established forward outposts and lis- 
tening posts which, in many cases, utilized former OPLR positions. 
Many of these posts were manned during daylight hours only. 

Abandonment of the forward OPLR added strength to the main 
line, but it also meant that frontline battalions had to commit all 
their companies on line, thus losing their reserve. To prevent Chinese 
occupation of desirable terrain features on the former OPLR, the divi- 
sion dispatched combat and reconnaissance patrols forward of its 

Colonel Flournoy became regimental CO on 10 April, succeeding Colonel Wade. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


line. In the KMC sector, the only Marine area favorable for tank 
operations forward of jamestown, tank-infantry patrols were peri- 
odically employed. 

To the west of the KMC sector, the Marine 1st Amphibian Trac- 
tor Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Michiel Dobervich) was assigned 
a section of the Kansas Line to defend, beginning 16 April. Rein- 
forced by attachment of the Division Reconnaissance Company (Ma- 
jor Ephraim Kirby-Smith) that same day, Lieutenant Colonel Dober- 
vich employed Company C (two platoons), the headquarters LVT 
platoon, and the reconnaissance unit to man 30 defensive positions 
from the Han River eastward to the KMC western boundary. 51 

Two other measures to strengthen his sector of jamestown were 
utilized by the Marine division commander. On 18 April, he asked 
General O'Daniel to reconsider the no-fire zone recently established 
by the corps commander. General Selden, who had received reports 
of Chinese use of the sanctuary located within Marine Corps territory 
— for firing positions and assembly areas primarily — recommended, 
after I Corps had refused him permission to fire into the haven, a 
redrawing of the O'Daniel line to coincide more closely with the 
boundaries established by the UN. Approval along the lines sub- 
mitted by the division was given by I Corps that same day. The sec- 
ond measure employed by General Selden was use of an additional 
defensive line, WYOMING forward. This position, closely paralleling 
jamestown in the KMC and 5th Marines sectors, added depth to 
the sector defenses. 

A unique rescue and recovery operation also came into existence 
about this time. On 19 April the division ordered the 5th Marines, 
occupying the center regimental sector, to organize a tank-infantry 
force for rescue of the United Nations Truce Team, should such 
action become necessary. The regimental plan, published on 22 April, 
utilized a reinforced rifle company-tank company organization di- 
rectly supported by organic 5th Marines 4.2-inch mortars and 1/11. 
The Everready Rescue Force, from the regimental reserve, occupied 
the high ground (OP 2) east of and dominating Panmunjom. 

In addition to setting forth organizational details of the task unit, 
the 5th Marines Operational Plan 6-52 specified the method of 
operation for the rescue force. Taking advantage of the peace corri- 

61 Company A, 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion had been attached to the Kimpo Pro- 
visional Regiment since 31 March and Company B was supporting MAG-33 at Pohang. 


Operations in West Korea 

dor in the western end of the center sector, a Forward Covering 
Force would speed tank-riding infantry to the high ground one-half 
mile beyond the objective, Panmunjon. Following would be the Pick- 
Up Force, from the 1st Tank Battalion Headquarters Platoon, which 
would retrieve the principal UN delegates and take them quickly 
to the assembly area two miles to the rear of the MLR. A Real 
Covering Force, composed of a tank-infantry element, would follow 
the Pick-Up force both on its way towards the objective and on the 
return trip. Withdrawal of both covering forces was regulated by a 
series of phase lines. 

Marine Air Operations™ 

Even though the Marine air-ground team had been shorn of much 
of its tactical aviation, what remained was well utilized. Helicopter 
troop operations had become commonplace by the end of April 1952. 
That month there were three exercises to further evaluate tactical 
concepts of helicopter employment. Operation pronto, conducted on 
5 April, was the first major troop lift in the new I Corps sector. In 
this maneuver approximately 670 troops of 2/7 and 10,000 pounds 
of rations were transported by helicopter and truck from the 
Munsan-ni vicinity across the Han River to the Kimpo Peninsula. 
Here the reserve battalion served as a counterattack force in a hypo- 
thetical enemy landing. Due to the necessity for avoiding the neu- 
trality zone in the Munsan area, round-trip flights averaged about 
57 miles. 

The exercise combined the shortest notice and longest distance of 
any large-scale helicopter troop movement conducted by HMR— 161. 
It pointed to the fact that a helicopter unit could successfully lift a 
troop organization virtually as an "on call" tactical tool and without 
the benefit of previous liaison. 

Operation leapfrog, on 18-19 April, transported one KMC batta- 
lion across the Han to the peninsula and lifted out another the fol- 
lowing day. The purpose of this test was to determine the feasibility 

52 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt Eval 
Rpt No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; 1st MAW, HMR-161, VMO-6 ComdDs, Apr 52; Lynn Mon- 
tross, Cavalry of the Sky — The Story of U. S. Marine Combat Helicopters (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1954), hereafter Montross, SkyCav, quoted with permission of the 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


of a replacement movement conducted over water, with "consider- 
ation given to the language barrier existing between the troops and 
the transporting facility." 53 The six-mile round trip was the shortest 
troop haul yet made by the transport chopper squadron. Conse- 
quently, it took the 12 HRS-1 single-engine Sikorsky aircraft only 
3 hours and 26 minutes to complete the exchange of the 1,702 
KMC troops. 

Colonel McCutcheon's HMR-161 pilots found that their heli- 
copters could carry six combat-equipped Korean Marines instead of 
five American Marines, due to the smaller size and weight of the 
average Korean. Since the U.S. and KMC Marine battalions were 
the same size, the larger load factor for the Korean Marines enabled 
their unit to be moved faster. In leapfrog the language difference 
proved to be no handicap, since there were sufficient interpreters on 
hand and the troops were cooperative. Helicopter pilots could use 
landing sites close together because the terrain was open and the 
area of operations beyond the reach of Chinese artillery. 

Close on the heels of leapfrog came a third airlift. Operation 
circus, conducted on 23 April, provided for the air deployment of 
the 7th Marines reserve regiment, minus two battalions, across the 
Imjin to landing sites just to the rear of the secondary defensive 
line, Wyoming forward. Ten helicopters carried 1,185 Marines 
over the river barrier to blocking positions in 90 minutes. The circus 
exercise illustrated that a minimum distance should be maintained 
between loading and unloading sites for a safe and efficient trans- 
port operation. It also pointed up that "consideration must be given 
to the number of aircraft assigned to each traffic pattern during 
short hops over a river." 54 This successful maneuver came three 
days before all HRS-1 aircraft were grounded due to a defect in 
the tail rotors. By mid-May the problem had been corrected and 
the aircraft returned to flying status. 

During April, Lieutenant Colonel Herring's VMO— 6 employed its 
11 single-engine OE-1 observation planes for a total of 508 fixed- 
wing combat flights. More than half of these, 275, were for artillery 
spotting; of the remainder, 166 were flown for reconnaissance and 
67 represented photo, weather, liaison, and area check-out maneuvers. 

53 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, 10-73. 

54 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-50. 


Operations in West Korea 

Combat flights by the squadron helicopters 55 during the month were 
110 liaison, 45 reconnaissance, and 93 evacuations. Of the total 756 
combat flights performed by both fixed-wing and rotary craft, 511 
were over enemy territory. 

During that same month, Marine squadrons operating under the 
Fifth Air Force put a total of 2,708 planes into the air despite restric- 
tive or prohibitive weather on 20 days. Continuing its emphasis on 
attacking the North Korean transportation system, the Air Force 
command dispatched 1,397 Marine planes on interdiction missions. 
Marine-piloted close air support sorties flown to assist the 1st Marine 
Division numbered only 56 throughout April; those piloted by Ma- 
rines for 16 other UN divisions totaled 547. 

Not all the air sortie records were made by land-based Marine 
squadrons. On 18 April, VMA-312, the CTE 95.11 squadron pro- 
vided by the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, flew 80 sorties, a Korean 
record for a carrier-based squadron to that date and twice the daily 
average for the initial six months of 1952. 

By 20 April the three tactical squadrons of MAG-12— VMF(N)- 
513, VMF-212, and VMF-323— had completed their relocations on 
the Korean west coast. Two days later, combined MAG-12 attack 
and —33 jet aircraft participated in what was a Fifth Air Force 
one-day combat record: 1,049 sorties. 

One MAG-33 unit, the newly-formed Marine Photographic Squad- 
dron 1, was already flying a large number of aerial reconnaissance 
missions directed by Fifth Air Force. It provided almost one-third of 
the daylight photo effort required by FAF with but one-quarter of 
the aircraft. 50 VMJ-I's complement of a dozen 550 mph McDonnell 
twin-jet Banshee F2H-2P aircraft mounted three cameras and were 
capable both of high altitude work and good speed. Introduction 
of this single-seat jet was considered the "first important develop- 

55 Rotary wing aircraft assigned were two types, HTL-^t and H03S-1. The former is 
a two-place, plastic-dome Bell product; the latter, the first helicopter operated by the 
Marine Corps, is an observation-utility, three-passenger Sikorsky-made craft. HistBr, G-3 
Div, HQMC, Marine Corps Aircraft, 1913-1965, Marine Corps Historical Reference 
Pamphlet (Washington: 1967 ed.) pp. 34, 38. 

50 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, pp. 10-2, 10-108. This record was established despite the 
fact that the Marine squadron, with 10 jets, flying out of K-3 (Pohang) was more than 
150 miles further from most targets than the other major photo unit, the 15th Tactical 
Reconnaissance Squadron of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, based at K-14 
(Kimpo) . 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


ment in aerial photography in the Korean War." 57 since the Banshee 
could outproduce any photo plane in Korea. 

The month of April also marked change of command ceremonies 
for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. On 11 April at K-3, General 
Schilt turned over wing responsibility to Brigadier General Clayton 
C Jerome. Among the numerous civilian and military dignitaries 
attending the ceremony at the Pohang 1st MAW headquarters were 
the Honorable John J. Muccio, U.S. Ambassador to Korea; Air Force 
Lieutenant Generals Otto P. Weyland and Frank F. Everest, com- 
manders of FEAF and FAF respectively; and the Marine division CG, 
Major General Selden. 

The new wing commander, General Jerome, like his predecessor, 
had a distinguished flight career. A 1922 graduate of the Naval 
Academy, he had served in various foreign and U.S. aviation billets 
and was a veteran of five World War II campaigns. In 1943 Colonel 
Jerome was operations officer for Commander, Aircraft, Solomon 
Islands. Later he was named Chief of Staff, Commander, Aircraft, 
Northern Solomons and Commander, Aircraft and Island Com- 
mander, Emirau, in the northern Solomons. Before returning to the 
States, Colonel Jerome had participated in the recapture of the 
Philippines, commanding MAG-32 and directing all Marine air sup- 
port in the Luzon fighting. Brigadier General Jerome became Direc- 
tor of Aviation and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps for 
Air in September 1950 and served in this capacity until taking com- 
mand of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea. 58 

During the command ceremonies the outgoing 1st MAW com- 
mander, General Schilt, was presented the Distinguished Service 
Medal for his outstanding leadership of the wing. The award was 
made by Lieutenant General Weyland. Shortly before his Korean 
tour ended, General Schilt had also received from ROK President 
Syngman Rhee the Order of Military Merit Taiguk, for his contribu- 
tion to the military defense of South Korea. 

67 Ibid., p. 10-59. 

08 DivJn/o, HQMC, Biography of LtGen Clayton C. Jerome, Jul 58, rev. 


Operations in West Korea 

Supporting the Division and the Wing 59 

Because of the command relationships existing in Korea, with all 
ground units under operational control of CG, eusak, the majority 
of the logistical support to the Marines was handled by the Army. 
Eighth Army, 2d Logistical Command (2d LogCom) provided for 
resupply of items used commonly by both Marine and Army person- 
nel; the Marine Corps (Commanding General, FMFPac) furnished 
those supplies and equipment used by Marine units only. 

When the division moved to the west, the 1st Shore Party Battalion 
opened a rear service area at Ascom City. Here the division estab- 
lished and maintained Class II (organizational equipment) and IV 
(special equipment) dumps for its units, as well as Class I (rations) 
and III (petroleum products) facilities for both the Kimpo regiment 
and the service units stationed at Ascom. Class I shipments were 
forwarded to the Munsan-ni railhead and stored there. Fuels and 
lubricants and Class V items (ordnance) were received from the U.S. 
Army. A forward ammunition supply point (ASP) was located north 
of the Imjin to assure a steady flow of ammunition to frontline com- 
bat units in the event that either an enemy attack or emergency 
flooding conditions of the river prevented use of the bridges. For the 
same reason a truck company was positioned near this supply point 
each night. 

Reinforcing the division logistic effort was the 1st Combat Service 
Group. Commanded by Colonel Russell N. Jordahl, the 1st CSG in 
late April had nearly 1,400 Marines and Navy medical personnel 
stationed at various points between Japan and Korea. At Kobe, Japan, 
the Support Company processed Marine drafts arriving and depart- 
ing Korea. At Masan, the Supply Company, 1st CSG, requisitioned 
for the division those Class II and IV items peculiar to the Marine 
Corps needs and forwarded them upon request. Heavy maintenance 
of all technical equipment was performed by the Maintenance Com- 
pany. Supporting the 1st Motor Transport Battalion operation was 
the Motor Transport Company, 1st CSG. Most of the group, includ- 
ing Headquarters Company, was based at Masan. 00 Splinter detach- 

50 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFli EvalRpt 
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; IstMarDiv, 1st MAW, 1st CSG, llthMar, 1st TkBn ComdDs, 
Mar-Apr 52; 1st CSG UnitRpts, Apr 52. 

1,0 The Support Company moved to Ascom City on 14 Jun 52. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


ments from the group also operated transport facilities at other 
locations in Korea. 

In western Korea, good rail transport into Munsan-ni and an ade- 
quate but not all-weather road system improved the division's logisti- 
cal situation. Greater storage facilities also existed in the Jamestown 
rear supply areas than in the X Corps sector just vacated by the 
Marines. Division motor equipment did not surfer any appreciable 
damage due to the rigors of the mixm ASTER transplacement. Vehicle 
maintenance also presented a favorable outlook, due to the expected 
decreased use during the period of positional warfare. On the other 
hand, an unduly large number of tanks developed engine troubles 
in March, which were traced back to defective oil cooling fans. This 
condition was corrected in April and May by installation of new 
fan assemblies. 

Guns of the 1st Tank Battalion immediately began to render 
valuable support to Marine frontline regiments with the division's 
new assignment in the west. Companies A, B, and C were placed 
in direct support of the three forward infantry regiments. Company 
D drew the reserve mission, which included tank-infantry training 
with the 7th Marines and preparation for reinforcing division artil- 
lery fires. Tank companies were used almost daily in the forward 
sectors for destruction by direct fire of the Chinese MLR fortifica- 
tions. For such missions the M— 46 tanks, equipped with high-velocity 
90mm guns, lumbered forward from secure assembly areas to the 
rear of jamestown to temporary firing positions on the line. 

After pouring direct fire on preselected targets and completion of 
the fire mission, the armored vehicles then returned to the rear. Less 
frequently, a five-vehicle tank platoon accompanied a reinforced 
rifle platoon and conducted daylight reconnaissance missions of for- 
ward areas to engage the Chinese and to gain intelligence about 
enemy positions and terrain. During April six such tank-infantry pa- 
trols, all in the KMC regimental area, failed to establish direct con- 
tact with the enemy but did draw mortar and artillery fire. 

Marine artillery, which had been receiving its share of attention 
from Communist field guns, 01 was faced by problems in two other 

01 One artillery weapon, in particular, as well as the Marine tanks habitually drew 
the fury of Chinese counter-fire. The heavy destructive power of the U.S. Army 8-inch, 
self-propelled howitzers firing on tough Chinese defensive positions, generally brought 
down on their own emplacements a rain of enemy shells, so sensitive were enemy 
commanders to these hard-hitting weapons. Pala comments. 


Operations in West Korea 

respects. Although the enemy held only four more artillery weapons 
than did the Marines, General Selden still lacked the ability to mass 
artillery fires to the same degree as did the Chinese. 02 This limita- 
tion stemmed directly from the wide physical separation of 11th 
Marines batteries and the frontline infantry regiments being sup- 
ported. A second problem, the loss of qualified forward observers — 
reserve officers due to return to the States for release from active 
service — forced the 11th Marines to begin a school to train infantry 
officers for this function. To make the course realistic, all firing was 
done at live targets. 03 

In April 1952, the 11th Marines organization had three light 
105mm howitzer battalions (54 guns), one medium 155mm howitzer 
battalion (12 guns), the KMC 105mm howitzer battalion (18 
pieces), and a 4.5-inch rocket battery (6 launchers). Attached to the 
1st Marine Division and located in its sector were one battalion and 
one battery of the I Corps field artillery. The mission of the Marine 
artillery regiment was to provide accurate and timely fires in sup- 
port of both the MLR and OPLR defenses, until withdrawal of the 
latter late in April. Batteries of the 11th Marines also fired on 
known and suspected Chinese gun emplacements and on targets 
of opportunity. The regiment also provided intelligence on enemy 

Throughout April, Colonel Henderson's units continued to improve 
their tactical and administrative areas, concentrating on field fortifi- 
cations, wire communications, and road trafficability. In the last cate- 
gory, the artillery dozers and dump trucks not only did nearly all of 
this work for the 11th Marines but also provided "a fair amount 
of 'direct support' bulldozing to the infantry regiments and occa- 
sionally loaned dozers and operators to the engineers." 64 

Within a Marine aircraft wing, personnel and equipment for logis- 
tic support are purposely limited to carrying out the wing primary 
mission — providing air support during an amphibious operation. The 
wing T/O (Table of Organization) provides a streamlined organiza- 
tion with light, transportable organic equipment. Additional logisti- 
cal support personnel and equipment are not included since this 
would result in (l) a duplication of support effort between the wing 

02 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 9, p. 9-39. 

03 BGen Frederick P. Henderson ltr to CMC, dtd 6 Sep 66, hereafter Henderson Itr 11. 

04 Ibid. 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


and landing force and (2) a great increase in wing transport snip- 
ing requirements. When the wing moves ashore, organic units render 
support necessary for operations on the airfield only. Responsibility 
for activities beyond this basic mission — airfield construction, main- 
tenance of runways, and movement of supplies to the airfield — must 
come from more senior commands. Usually such assistance is ob- 
tained by attaching elements of a naval construction battalion and 
other logistical support units. 

In April 1952, Naval Construction Battalion Unit 1804 assisted in 
the construction and maintenance received by MAG-33 at K-3. Here 
at the port of Pohang, a detachment from the 1st Combat Service 
Group controlled the movement of fuels, oils, lubricants, and ord- 
nance to wing dumps. Amphibian tractors (LVTs) of Company B, 
1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, provided most of the transpor- 
tation required for these supplies excepting ordnance. Assistance 
in the form of amphibious trucks (DUKWs) was furnished by a 
platoon from the 1st Amphibian Truck Company. When required, 
Marines of these two companies manhandled the supplies. 

Logistical support for the Marine wing was governed by the same 
general procedures that applied to the division; 1st MAW supply 
requirements beyond its augmented capability became the responsi- 
bility of Eighth Army (2d LogCom) which furnished items common 
to both Marine and Army units. If this eusak agency did not stock 
the requisitioned item, it provided a substitute. Responsibility for 
resupply of aviation items rested with the U.S. Navy. Commander, 
Naval Forces, Far East (ComNavFE) replaced unserviceable avia- 
tion technical equipment such as aircraft parts and special main- 
tenance tools. Commander, Service Force, Pacific (ComServPac) 
replenished aviation ordnance. Responsibility for supplying items 
peculiar to the Marine Corps rested with CG, FMFPac. 

The repair and maintenance of 1st MAW equipment posed far less 
of a problem than the construction and upkeep of airfields. Major 
repair work on aircraft was satisfactorily performed in Japan by the 
wing support squadron at Itami, and by the U.S. Navy Fleet Air 
Service Squadron 11 (FASRon-ll), located at the Naval Air Station, 
Atsugi. The establishment in Japan of the wing heavy maintenance 
facility depended, in part, upon its proximity to the wing flying 
squadrons. Other considerations were the availability to the wing 
commander of adequate air transport for continuous resupply of both 


Operations in West Korea 

routine and emergency items and reliable communications between 
the users and the maintenance unit. Because these conditions favoring 
removal of the heavy maintenance facility from the immediate com- 
bat area existed throughout Korean hostilities, it was possible for the 
maintenance units to operate successfully in Japan away from the 
combat zone. 

Air base construction and maintenance of airfield runways and 
taxiways had plagued wing operations since the early days of the 
Korean War. During the first winter these problems had appeared 
repeatedly at those installations where Marine air was either not 
properly supported or insufficiently augmented by the operational 
commander. Shortly after MAG-33 had moved to K-3 in early 1951, 
the wing commander requested emergency repairs for the runway 
and a permanent solution to the airfield maintenance difficulties. 
Assistance was made available, but it was insufficient. The repair 
force had to be augmented by Marines pulled away from their own 
vital jobs and by native laborers. Later, in the spring of 1952, when 
the Air Force assigned some of its engineers to assist, the maintenance 
problem almost disappeared. 

Motor transport within the wing was a continuing source of 
logistical problems. Vehicles for handling the heavier aviation ord- 
nance were unsatisfactory because their configuration, of World War 
II vintage, did not permit them to service the newer aircraft. Other 
trucks lacked engine power or rigidity to withstand sustained use 
under primitive airfield conditions. World War II vehicles that had 
been preserved and placed in open storage required reconditioning 
before their use in Korea. Mechanics' general and special tools had 
a high replacement rate throughout the entire period of wing opera- 
tions in Korea. 

Aircraft fuel handling in April 1952 followed outmoded World 
War II methods. For K-3, amphibian vehicles received drummed fuel 
from ships and landed it at the beach. There MAG-33 personnel 
transferred the gasoline to 1,200-gallon fuel trucks, which then moved 
it to the airfield servicing area, where other Marines transferred it 
again, this time to 3,200-gallon stationary refuelers for dispensing 
into the aircraft. Although this method became highly developed, it 
was extremely slow and wasteful of manpower and vehicles in com- 
parison to the tank farm system, which was soon to reach K-3. 

Two areas of logistics continued to remain almost trouble free for 

Operations in West Korea Begin 


division and wing Marines. Medical problems existed but were not 
extensive. During a five-day period in late March, Marine Air Control 
Group 2 experienced 13 cases of scarlet fever but no fatalities. That 
same month, the Pacific Fleet Medical Officer noted that MAG-12 
sick bays were in excellent condition and that medical "personnel 
have shown great ingenuity in fabricating various items of medical 
equipment from scrap metal and lumber." 05 

Evacuation of casualties and the utilization of air vehicles for 
transport of passengers and cargo proved to be the second asset in 
logistical operations. The Itami-based detachment of VMR-152 
moved 7,757 personnel from the division and wing and 738.7 tons 
of cargo during April 1952. In addition, the R5D craft hauled a total 
of 325.2 tons of U.S. mail that month for the two Marine organiza- 
tions. Speedy removal of patients to better equipped facilities in the 
rear by VMO-6 and HMR-161 helicopters was a giant step forward 
in life-saving techniques. VMO-6 usually provided this service, but 
early in April, Colonel McCutcheon's squadron was assigned emer- 
gency medical evacuation duties to augment the observation squad- 
ron. 00 Pilots flew these evacuation missions with almost total disregard 
for adverse weather or darkness, and without radar control or ade- 
quate instrumentation for all-weather operations. 07 

Different Area, Different Problem 08 

An additional responsibility the 1st Marine Division inherited when 
it moved to western Korea was control of civilians wthin the division 
boundary. In eastern Korea, all nonmilitary personnel had been evac- 
uated from the vicinity of the Minnesota Line in the division sector; 
they had not been removed from the jamestown area. Prior to the 

PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 12, p. 12-8. The medical officer's report to CinCPac 
noted that a vast improvement "in the spaces allocated for the care of the sick and 
wounded" had been made. 

°" PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 10-69, p. 10-73. 

1,7 Ibid., p. 10-68. Flights were not made in heavy fog. Test use by the Marine Corps 
Equipment Board of some of the equipment needed to navigate under conditions of 
reduced visibility was nearing the end of its development cycle. 

" s Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: CG, IstMarDiv 
Itr to CMC, dtd 23 Jul 53, Subj: Type "C" Rpt: "Civilian Affairs and the Korean 
Service Corps, Mar 52-May 53," hereafter CG, IstMarDiv ltr, Civ Afrs and KSC; 
IstMarDiv ConidDs, Mar-Apr 52; HqBn, IstMarDiv ComdDs, Mar-Apr 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

arrival of the division in the west, the stayback Line, averaging 
seven miles to the rear of the Imjin River and running in a generally 
northeast-southwest direction, had been established to limit the move- 
ment of civilian personnel in the forward areas. The Marines soon 
found that their predecessors must have been lax, however, in requir- 
ing that Korean civilians remain behind stayback. What seemed 
equally unsuitable to the division was the poor military-civilian 
relationship that had apparently existed for some time. 

To correct the situation, General Selden cautioned his units to 
avoid unnecessary damage or destruction to the civilian economy. He 
directed his commanding officers to keep unauthorized Koreans away 
from Marine installations. Military police set up check points and 
instituted roving patrols to enforce division controls. Civil violators 
were turned over to Korean authorities or held for investigation 
before release. Civilians who lived in the forward areas were removed 
to the rear. They were prevented from going beyond stayback until 
August 1952, when a controlled passage system was instituted. 


Defending the Line 

UN Command Activities — Defense of West and East Coast 
Korean Islands — Marine Air Operations — Spring 1952 on 
Jamestown — End of the Second Year of War — A Long Fourth 
of July — Changes in the Lineup — Replacement and Rotation 
— Logistical Operations, Summer 1952 

UN Command Activities 1 

Movement OF the 1st Marine Division to the west was part of 
an Eighth Army master plan to strengthen UN defenses and 
at the same time to enable South Korean forces to assume increased 
responsibility in the defense of their homeland. The tactical realign- 
ment in the spring of 1952 put more South Korean infantry units on 
the main line of resistance and buttressed the fighting front with five 
corps sectors instead of four. In the far west, the I Corps positions 
were newly manned (left to right) by the 1st Marine, 1st Common- 
wealth, 1st ROK, and the U.S. 45th Infantry Divisions. Next in line 
was IX Corps, whose left boundary General Van Fleet 2 had shifted 
further west, which now had a divisional line up of the ROK 9th on 
the left, the U.S. 7th in the center, and the U.S. 40th on the right. 

1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: Cdr Malcolm 
W. Cagle, USN and Cdr Frank A. Manson, USN, The Sea War in Korea (Annapolis, 
Md.: U.S. Naval Institute, 1957), hereafter Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; James 
A. Field, Jr., History of United States Naval Operations, Korea (Washington: [Div. 
of Naval Hist], 1962), hereafter Field, NavOps, Korea; John Miller, Jr., Maj Owen 
J. Carroll, USA, and Margaret E. Tacldey, Korea, 1951-1953 (Washington: OCMH, 
DA, 1958), hereafter Miller, Carroll, and Tacldey, Korea, 1951-1953. 

2 General Van Fleet, CG, EUSAK since April 1951, had advocated a program in 
which South Korean troops would be rigorously trained to take over an increasingly 
greater part of the UNC defense efforts in Korea. See Mark W. Clark, From the 
Danube to the Yalu (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954), p. 185, hereafter Clark, 
Danube to Yalu, quoted with permission of the publishers. 



Operations in West Korea 

To fill in the central part of the EUSAK front where the change of 
IX Corps boundary had created a gap in the line, the UN commander 
inserted the ROK II Corps with three divisions (ROK 6th, ROK 
Capital, and ROK 3d) forward. Immediately to the right of this 
new ROK corps sector, the X Corps continued in approximately its 
same position on the east-central front. Its ROK 7th and U.S. 25th 
Divisions remained on line, while the ROK 8th had advanced to the 
former sector of the Marine division in the wild Punchbowl country. 
At the far right of the UN line, the ROK I Corps front was held by 
the ROK 11th Division at the X Corps boundary and the ROK 5th 
along the Sea of Japan. By 1 May 1952, nine Republic of Korea 
divisions had been emplaced on the UNC main defense line, three 
more than had been there in mid-March. 

Throughout Korea in March and April there had been a general 
stagnation of offensive action on both sides because of fog, rain, and 
mud. In May, however, the Chinese launched no less than 30 probing 
attacks against the ROK 1st Division in the I Corps sector, without 
gaining any significant advantage. To the right, the enemy and the 
U.S. 45th Division traded blows in several patrol actions. In June, 
major EUSAK combat action was still centered in the 45th's sector, 
but the following month was marked by sharp battlefront clashes in 
nearly all Eighth Army division areas. For a two-week period in 
July and August, heavy seasonal rains limited both ground and air 
action. With the return of normal weather, heavy fighting again 
broke out, this time concentrated in the I Corps sector. This action 
did not abate until late August, when the onset of the heaviest rains 
of the season again drastically reduced military operations. 

Communist ground activity in the spring of 1952 was marked by 
increased artillery support which resulted in telling damage to UN 
infantry and artillery positions. Thus, during May, the enemy ex- 
pended approximately 102,000 artillery and mortar rounds against 
the Allied front, roughly 12 times the number fired the previous July, 
just prior to the period of stabilized battlelines in Korea. The artillery 
buildup was accompanied by a sharp decrease in hostile air support 
activities. While the Chinese had flown 3,700 jet sorties during the 
first month of 1952, by June the monthly total had dropped to 308. 

As part of the balanced military forces, Allied air and sea units 
continued their active defense in support of UN ground units. Be- 
ginning in late May, Fifth Air Force shifted the emphasis of its 

Defending the Line 


destructive effort from interdiction of communication routes to the 
bombing of selected industrial targets. Naval air was committed to 
support the FAF programs. At sea, ships steamed almost at will to 
sustain the U.S. lifeline. Underscoring the complete UN control of 
Korean waters, large naval vessels offshore fired their big guns in 
support of ground troops. Off both the west and east coasts, Task 
Force (TF) 95 maintained its blockade of North Korean ports and 
reduced the extent of water travel that enemy craft could safely 
undertake. This same naval force was responsible for the Allied 
defense of islands located off the east and west coasts of Korea. 

Defense of West and East Coast Korean Islands' 6 

Just off the northwest Korean mainland a string of islands extends 
from the mouth of the Yalu River down around the peninsula to 
Pusan in the southeast. Most of these islands are tiny and are located 
south of the 38th Parallel. Only a few lie off the east coast, and these 
are clustered primarily in the North Korean harbor of Wonsan. By 
early 1951, UN forces exercised control over most of the Korean 
islands. Their tactical importance is shown from their diverse use as 
sites for UN Command intelligence activities, USAF radar installa- 
tions, locations for the emergency landing strips used by Allied 
planes, bases for U.S. search and rescue operations, and as spring- 
boards for possible thrusts into enemy rear areas. 4 

Another reason for holding some of the islands had come to light 
during truce negotiations in December 1951. At that time, in an 
attempt to expedite the successful conclusion of the truce meetings, 
UN representatives had offered the Communists all the islands north 
of the 38th Parallel. Brushing aside the tactical value of the pro- 
posal, the enemy boasted that he could capture the islands at any 

3 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts 
No. 4, Chap. 9; No. 5, Chap. 8; West Coast Island Defense Element ComdDs, Feb- 
Oct 52, hereafter WCIDE ComdD, with date; East Coast Island Defense ComdDs, 
Jan-Oct 52, hereafter ECIDE ComdD, with date; Col William K. Davenport Itr to 
CMC, dtd 27 Jun 52, Subj: Type D Report of duty as Commander West Coast Island 
Defense Element (CTE 95.15); Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; Field, NavOps, 

4 Evidence of Chinese concern about such rear area attacks is apparent in the coun- 
termeasures taken: "Order of Battle reports indicated that a total of three North Ko- 
rean Corps and three Chinese Communist Armies were engaged in coastal defense 
operations on the east and west coasts of North Korea." PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 5, p. 8-79. 


SUMMER 1952 



Defending the Line 


time. In November 1951 the Communists had, in fact, seized two 
western islands near the mouth of the Yalu. The 1,000 defending 
guerrillas there — former North Koreans working for the UNC — 
had been unable to stem the assault. The UN Command promptly 
reviewed the island situation and on 6 January 1952 gave TF 95, 
the United Nations Blockading and Escort Force, responsibility for 
both overall defense and local ground defense for the 11 coastal 
islands north of the 38th Parallel and the 4 islands immediately south 
of this boundary. Two subordinate blockade task groups, one in the 
west and another in the east, were responsible for the defense of 
these islands. 

In the west, Task Group (TG) 95.1 was charged with the defense 
of six islands. (See Map 6.) Two of these, Sok-to and Cho-do, lie 
between the 38th and 39th Parallels; the four remaining islands, 
Paengyong-do, Taechong-do, Yongpyong-do, and Tokchok-to, are 
above the 37th Parallel. In the east, TG 95.2 was responsible for 
keeping nine islands north of the 38th Parallel in friendly hands. Sit- 
uated in Wonsan harbor are Mo-do, Sin-do, So-do, Tae-do, Hwangto- 
do, Ung-do, and Yo-do, the largest. (See Map 7.) Another island, 
Yang-do, actually a two-island group further north in the area of 
the 4lst Parallel, is 18 miles northeast of the coastal city of Songjin. 
The southernmost island, tiny Nan-do, is below Wonsan and the 
39th Parallel and lies 10 miles northeast of Kojo, another coastal city. 

Ground defense of the islands had been, at best, a haphazard 
arrangement before TF 95 took over the responsibility. Many of the 
islands, especially those inhabited by friendly guerrillas, had neither 
plans for a proper defense nor commanders experienced in organ- 
izing resistance to enemy attack. Soon after the two islands near the 
mouth of the Yalu were taken, ROK Marines were rushed to those 
islands considered most strategic for South Korean defense. Late in 
1951, U.S. Marines had been assigned to the area in an advisory 
capacity. By early 1952, Marine Corps detachments were in command 
of the island defense activities for both task groups. Korean Marines 
provided a majority of the actual defending forces. 

Although the 1st Marine Division initially had supplied the officers 
and men for the island security missions, in January 1952 FMFPac 
took on direct responsibility for furnishing personnel and providing 
for their administrative and logistical support through the 1st Pro- 
visional Casual Company, FMFPac. Located at Otsu, Japan, the 


Operations in West Korea 

company was the administrative headquarters for seriously wounded 
Marine division and wing personnel recuperating in service hospitals 
in Japan. Recovered patients who volunteered for duty with the 
offshore commands provided the bulk of the Marines used in this 
defense. Major responsibilities were to plan, organize, and conduct 
the defense of these islands off the Korean west and east coasts. 
A task element under each task group was created for this purpose. 

With its headquarters at Paengyang-do, Task Element (TE) 95.15, 
the West Coast Island Defense Element (WCIDE), was organized 
early in January 1952. The following month, the initial complement 
of U.S. Marines arrived. Colonel William K. Davenport, Jr., element 
commander, assigned his 5 officers and 29 enlisted men to the 4 most 
critical islands and to his staff. Those islands garrisoned were Cho-do 
and Sok-to, north of the Parallel and both within range of enemy 
mainland guns, and Paengyang-do and Yongpyong-do, to the south. 
Taechong-do, near the command island, and Tokchok-to, southwest 
of Inchon, were both considered secure and not provided with U.S. 
Marine commanders. At each of the four occupied islands, Marines 
reconnoitered the terrain, drew up plans for preparation of defensive 
positions, organized and trained the troops available, and began the 
laborious task of constructing the defense. Protection against long- 
range hostile artillery fire was emphasized for the northern Sok-to 
and Cho-do garrisons. 

Off the other long coast of Korea, TE 95.23, the East Coast Island 
Defense Element (ECIDE), commanded until early May 1952 by 
Colonel Frank M. Reinecke, had an almost entirely different situ- 
ation. Eight of the nine islands in the vicinity of Wonsan Harbor or 
north of Songjin that ECIDE was responsible for were within range 
of Communist shore batteries and thus frequently fired upon. Even 
before the January 1952 decision, the U.S. Navy had been charged 
with the security of these east coast islands north of the 38th Parallel. 
For these reasons ECIDE defenses had to maintain a greater state 
of readiness and were more advanced than in the west. Fire support 
ships and land based U.S. Marine naval gunfire spotting teams from 
1st ANGLICO (Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company), FMF, 
which also provided forward air controllers for the KMC regiment, 
stood by at all times to siience unfriendly artillery fire emanating 
from the mainland. The Marines had also trained Korean Marines 
to handle the spotting missions. 


Operations in West Korea 

A number of events of major interest occurred during those first 
difficult weeks following organization of the two offshore island 
commands. On 19 and 20 February, elements of two North Korean 
infantry battalions launched an unsuccessful assault against the two 
Yang-do islands. The combined "action of the island garrison and 
UN surface forces" 5 repulsed the enemy attempt, which had been 
planned to gain intelligence and kill as many of the defenders as 
possible. On the heels of this action, with the first enemy effort to 
take an east coast island, came an unexpected bonus in the form of 
a defector. Brigadier General Lee II, nkpa, came ashore on 21 
February at Tae-do "in a stolen sampan with a briefcase full of top 
secret papers, a head full of top secret plans, and a strong desire 
to make himself useful." 7 He was rushed immediately to Eighth 
Army intelligence officers. 

The next day command personnel of the west coast TE 95.15 were 
treated to a surprise, though not so pleasant as the unforeseen de- 
fection of the nkpa general. Rear Admiral George C. Dyer, Com- 
mander Task Force (CTF) 95, and his staff were engaged in an 
inspection of the WCIDE islands. While the party was looking over 
the antiaircraft defenses at Paengyong-do: 

... an aircraft of VMA-312 made a pass at the CP, followed closely 
by a second plane. The second aircraft made a message drop and accident- 
ally released a 500-pound bomb, which landed from 75-100 feet west of 
the CP, shattering all windows and blowing all the doors off their hinges. 
Personnel harbored within the CP were thrown to the floor by the con- 
cussion, a few sustaining minor cuts and bruises, but no fatalities were 
incurred . . . Commanding Officer, USS Bairoko [the carrier to which 
VMA-312 was assigned}, sent a note of apology to CTE 95.15 and later 
followed up with material to repair the CP. 8 

In March, CTG 95.1 directed the occupation of Ho-do, barely 
more than a speck of dirt 4,000 yards south of Sok-to and within 
400 yards of the Communist mainland. Despite Colonel Davenport's 
objection that the proposed action was beyond the defensive mission 

5 CinPac Weekly Intel Digest No. 23-52, dtd 6 lun 52, included as App. 17 to 
PacFli EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-110. 

First Lieutenant Joseph S. Bartos, Jr., a former AU-American football great, also 
distinguished himself during the Yang-do action. His cool, resourceful, and valiant 
leadership during the two-day defense earned him the Silver Star Medal. BGen Frank 
M. Reinecke comments on draft MS, dtd 25 Aug 66. 

7 Field, NavOps, Korea, p. 426. 

5 CTE 95.15 ComdD, 1 Feb-31 May 52, p. 8. 

Defending the Line 


of his command and that the proximity of Ho-do to the enemy shore 
made the island untenable, 9 the task group commander would not 
rescind the directive. After a detailed reconnaissance by First Lieu- 
tenant Wallace E. Jobusch, Colonel Davenport ordered a reinforced 
Korean Marine Corps platoon to occupy the island. This order was 
carried out, but during the night of 25-26 March the platoon lost its 
newly gained objective to a well-coordinated enemy amphibious at- 
tack. Not a single Korean Marine survivor could be accounted for 
at daylight. On 2 April, however, after the enemy force had de- 
parted Ho-do, six of the platoon turned up on Sok-to. They had 
survived by hiding out at Ho-do. None of the others were ever seen 
again. After the island was overrun, it was not reoccupied by Allied 

After this latest offensive action in the west, the Communists 
made no further attempts to seize any of the islands. U.S. and ROK 
Marines enjoyed a period of relative freedom from enemy harass- 
ment, except for frequent shore battery shelling directed against the 
east coast islands. For WCIDE command members the quiet island 
duty was interrupted only occasionally by hostile artillery fire although 
rumors of imminent enemy landings abounded. On 13 October, how- 
ever, the enemy bombed Cho-do in the first air attack made against 
an island garrison since the U.S. Marines had been assigned the 
west coast island command responsibility. No casualties resulted from 
this raid. The lull in enemy activity that then ensued enabled island 
personnel to devote increased efforts towards improvement of their 

Marines instructed, drilled, and conducted tactical exercises for the 
island forces. Island commanders supervised the construction and 
improvement of gun pits and other defense installations. At the 
ECIDE command island, Yo-do, a 2,700-foot airstrip (Briscoe Field) 
for emergency landings and intelligence flights had been completed 
by June. Since much of the labor was performed by Koreans, the 
language barrier sometimes created difficulties. In all these activities 
the Marines found that they were hampered but not unduly burdened 
by this problem. 

One condition, however, did handicap operations of the island 

9 Colonel Davenport later pointed out that the enemy could easily employ high- 
powered rifles against Ho-do occupants, that resupply posed problems to his command, 
and that at times the enemy could even walk to Ho-do over the winter ice. Col William 
K. Davenport ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 7 Sep 66. 


Operations in West Korea 

Marines. This was the supply situation which was prevented from 
becoming desperate only because the Marines were able to borrow 
and obtain necessities from other service activities. The inability of 
the island Marines to draw needed supplies from the responsible 
U.S. Army agency developed as a result of the slowness of the 
Marines in approving the task element tables of equipment (T/E), 10 
and from insistence of the supplying activity that it would deal only 
with those units that had approved tables of equipment. The urgency 
of the situation was alleviated in May when weekly supply flights 
were begun by the 1st MAW. Even when surface ships did arrive with 
provisions, Marines frequently discovered that items which had been 
invoiced were missing. 11 Consumables, especially, had a high rate of 

Marine Air Operations 12 

Close air support of ground troops remained an almost forgotten 
mission of Fifth Air Force tactical aircraft. When planes were allotted 
for close support, both their customary late arrival over the target 
area and pilot inefficiency left Marine ground commanders less than 
satisfied. 13 The particular concern of General Jerome, the new 1st 
MAW commander, was the continuing limited opportunity for his 
Marines to execute their normal primary mission — close air support 

10 A T/E is a listing of equipment that a unit needs to accomplish its mission. Tables 
vary according to type of unit and its mission. 

11 Commenting on logistical matters, Colonel Kenneth A. King, who during 1952 
commanded first the WCIDE and then 1st CSG, was of the opinion that the main dif- 
ficulty lay "not in getting requisitions filled, but in getting delivery of what was ap- 
proved" due to the fact Marines were not assigned to processing of requisitions and 
delivery of supplies. He had high praise for the concern and assistance of 1st MAW 
units as well as Captain G. L. G. Evans (RN) of HMS Ocean and various other 
United Kingdom ship captains. Colonel King further commented that "for the benefit 
of Marines who may have to serve in isolated areas, and I imagine this often prevails 
in Vietnam today, it cannot be emphasized too strongly that the Marine Corps should 
be very reluctant to leave the support of any of its elements, no matter how small, to 
other services or nationalities." Col Kenneth A. King ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, 
HQMC, dtd 24 Aug 66. 

'-Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section has been derived from: 
PacFlt EvalRpts No. 4, Chap. 10; No. 5, Chap. 9; 1st MAW ComdDs, May-Aug 52; 
MAG-12 ComdDs, Jun, Aug 52; Robert F. Futrell. The United States Air Force in 
Korea, 1950-1953 (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1961), hereafter Futrell, 
USAF, Korea. 

13 1st MAW ComdD, Feb 52, quoted in PacFlt EvalRpl No. 4, p. 10-45. 

Defending the Line 


of frontline troops. Although FAF assigned Marine pilots to support 
the 1st Marine Division whenever possible, the infrequent number 
of close air support missions performed under the existing sortie 
limit was beginning to detract from the quality of delivery. General 
Jerome set out to remedy this unfavorable situation. 

Working with General Selden, the Marine wing commander pre- 
vailed upon the Air Force to permit close air support training of 
wing pilots and of forward air controllers with the Marine division. 
On 19 May, CG, FAF lifted the close air support restriction that he 
had imposed in front of General Selden's MLR. By agreement be- 
tween the FAF and the two Marine commanders, Fifth Air Force 
would permit the scheduling of 12 close air support sorties daily for 
a one-month period, MAG-12 was given this training mission, to 
begin on 21 May. 14 

The objective of the CAS program, in addition to providing 
operational training and practice for Marine ground officers, air con- 
trollers, and pilots, was to inflict maximum casualties on Chinese 
troops and to increase the destruction and damage to their positions. 
Before assigning a pilot to the actual training flights, MAG-12 sent 
him on a tour of the front lines to become better familiarized with 
the topography, the restricted ("no-fly") areas, and probable enemy 
targets. Air strikes requested by the division went directly to MAG- 
12. Initially, a limitation of 12 sorties per day was established, but on 
17 July — the program having already been extended beyond its 
original 30-day limit — a new ceiling of 20 daily sorties went into 
effect. The division was also allowed additional flights above this 
prescribed daily sortie number when air support was needed to repel 
a large-scale enemy attack or to assist in a major Marine ground 

Almost as soon as the Marines began to derive the benefit of the 
training program, the flights were terminated by FAF. On 3 August 

14 Two months earlier, FAF had begun "a program for training pilots in close air 
support techniques. . . . Initially, all training missions for this division were flown by 
Air Force aircraft." The flights, not in response to specific requests, were assigned by 
the G-3, I Corps. CG, IstMarDiv Itr to CG, FMFPac dtd 23 May 52, Subj: CAS sum 
for pd 1 Jan-30 Apr 52, cited in PacFlt EvalRpl No. 4, p. 10-196. These flights 
ceased just before the ones from MAG-12 began. 1st MarDiv ComdD, May 53, p. 4. A 
1st MarDiv staff officer, who had observed the frequency of General Jerome's visits to 
the division CP to discuss the new close air support training program, has credited the 
two Marine CGs for their "great amount of coordinated personal aggressiveness in 
bringing this about." Col Robert A. McGill comments on draft MS, Sep 66, hereafter 
McGill comments. 


Operations in West Korea 

1952, following a complaint by CG, Eighth Army that Marines were 
Fifth Air Force notified General Jerome that the special program 
getting a disproportionate share of the close air support sorties, the 
would end the next day. General Selden was instructed to request 
air support "in the same manner as other divisions on the Army 
front." 15 Despite the abrupt termination of the training program, 
the division had derived substantial benefits from the 12 weeks of 
Marine-type close air support. "Air attacks were the most useful 
weapon for dealing with enemy dug-in on the reverse slopes," 10 
according to an official analysis. One regimental commander reported 
that the 1,000-pound bombs were effective in destroying enemy 
bunkers and further noted that the strikes had produced good results 
in the "destruction or damaging of enemy artillery and mortar 
pieces." 17 Another senior officer commented that air overhead kept 
the Communists "buttoned up," which permitted Marines greater 
freedom of movement for tactical and logistical operations. 18 

A second type of Marine close air support aided the mission of 
Marine infantrymen in western Korea during the summer of 1952. 
This was controlled radar bombing, which permitted delivery of 
aviation ordnance at night or under other conditions of limited or 
poor visibility. The Air Force had introduced the concept into Korea 
in January 1951, had tested and evaluated it in combat, and shortly 
thereafter had put it to good use against the Communist spring 
offensives that year. Based on a concept oriented towards deep sup- 
port of troops in extended land campaigns, the Air Force system 
made use of 20-ton vans to house its ground components. 10 

The Marine equipment, on the other hand, was more mobile since 
it was to be employed close to friendly lines. Referred to as the 
MPQ-14, 20 the Marine radar bombing system was designed so that 

15 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-54. 

10 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-36. 

17 1st MarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, p. 2. 

Col Russell E. Honsowetz Itr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 14 Sep 66. 

10 As an Air Force spokesman noted, ". . . the AN/MPQ-2 radars introduced into 
Korea in January 1951 were Strategic Air Command bomb scoring radars and not tac- 
tical equipment. This would explain the large vans." Robert C. Futrell, Historian, Hist 
Studies Br USAF Hist Div, comments on draft MS, dtd 120ct66. Dr. Futrell authored 
the definitive unclassified history of Air Force operations in Korea, previously cited as 
USAF, Korea. 

20 These letters indicate first, the type of installation; next, the kind of electronic 
equipment; and finally, its purpose. In this case, M-mobile''ground installation, P-radar, 
and Q-intended for a combination of purposes. The figure indicates the model number 
in the developmental history of the equipment. 

Defending the Line 


the largest piece could be put into a one-ton trailer. Major ground 
items were a generator power supply, a tracking radar, and a com- 
puter; the last essential component, an automatic bombing control, 
was mounted in the aircraft. 

Developed and hand built after World War II by Marines under 
Major Marion C. Dalby at the Naval Air Materiel Test Center, 
Point Mugu, California, the MPQ-14 was first used in Korea in 
September 1951. Initially, considerable mechanical difficulty was 
experienced with radar bombing, which affected the accuracy of the 
bombs, but later the system became sufficiently reliable to permit 
bomb drops within one mile of friendly lines. Subsequent use con- 
firmed the tactical precision of the MPQ-14. By the middle of summer 
1952, the Marines had obtained Fifth Air Force permission to use 
radar bombing, controlled by a forward observer on the ground, in 
a close support role. 

Before this policy change took place another one, at a still higher 
command level, had occurred. On 23 June, FAF planes struck at 
eight North Korean hydroelectric plants in the central and north- 
western part of the country. The attack represented a departure from 
the intense interdiction of enemy lines of communication (Operation 
STRANGLE) which, since May 1951, had characterized FAF support 
operations. The shift came about after a Far East Air Forces study 
on the effectiveness of the interdiction campaign had concluded, in 
part, that the program had been indecisive. 21 

For more than a year preceding the 23 June attack, the Fifth Air 
Force had concentrated its ground support efforts on the disruption 
of Communist communication lines so that the enemy would be 
unable "to contain a determined offensive ... or to mount a sus- 
tained offensive himself." 22 During the lifetime of the doctrine, no 
major offensive had been launched by the enemy, and on this fact 
was based the claim for success of the interdiction program. 
Opponents, however, pointed out that despite this maximum FAF 
air effort, the Communists had built up their strength, including 
support areas immediately to the rear of their front lines and 
resupply installations. As the recent UN commander, General 

21 HistDiv; Air Univ, USAF, United States Air Force Operations in the Korean 
Conflict, 1 November 1950-30 June 1222,'VSAB Hist Study No. 72 (Washington, 
1955), : -p. 159, hereafter USAF; Ops in Korea, with appropriate number. The Air 
Force' operations were published in three books, numbered 72, 73, and 127. 

22 Futrell, USAF, Korea, pp. 435-436. 


Operations in West Korea 

Matthew B. Ridgway, 23 told members of the Senate Committee on 
Armed Services on 21 May 1952, the same month that FAF had 
begun to shift its air effort away from interdiction, "I think that the 
hostile forces opposing the Eighth Army . . . have a substantially 
greater offensive potential than at any time in the past. . . ." 2i 

A number of factors contributed to the reduced emphasis on the 
interdiction strategy. Three, however, appear to have most influenced 
the inauguration of Operation PRESSURE, the name given the new 
policy of concentrating aerial attacks on major industrial targets 
considered of greatest value to the North Korean economy. Mount- 
ing FAF aircraft losses due to enemy flak (fire from ground-based 
antiaircraft weapons)*, and an insufficient number of replacements 
helped shape the new pi^gram. By April 1952 feaf had received 
"only 131 replacement aircraft of the types engaged in rail inter- 
diction against the 243 it had lost and the 290 major-damaged air- 
craft on interdiction sorties." 25 These heavy losses had resulted from 
the increasing accuracy of Communist antiaircraft ground weapons, 
a capability Air Force planners had failed to consider sufficiently. 20 

Although significant, this loss factor was not the final considera- 
tion in executing pressure attacks against the power plants. More 
directly responsible were two other recent developments. These were 
the decision of the new UN commander, General Mark W. Clark, to 
take forceful action to bring the Communists around to an armistice 
agreement and a top-level Defense Department change of policy that 
had removed a major North Korean hydroelectric facility from the 
restricted bombing list. This was the Suiho plant, fourth largest in 
the world. Adjacent to the Yalu River, about 75 miles northeast of 
its mouth, Suiho supplied approximately 25 percent of the electrical 
power used in nearby northeast China. 27 

Results of the pressure strikes, carried on from 23-27 June, 
were highly successful. Marine, Navy, and Air Force planes flew 
1,654 attack and escort sorties in these raids. Of the 13 target plants 
attacked during this period, 11 were put out of commission and 2 

23 General Mark W. Clark had succeeded Ridgway as UN Commander on 12 May 
1952. Ridgway was to take over as the new Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1 June, 
replacing General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was returning to the United 

24 Cited in Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 435. 

25 USAF, Ops in Korea, No. 72, p. 156. 

26 Futrell, USAF, Korea, pp. 436-437. 

27 Ibid., pp. 452^153 and Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea, pp. 443-445. 

Defending the Line 


others were presumably destroyed. North Korea was almost blacked 
out for two weeks. Chinese and Russian experts were rushed to North 
Korea to lend a hand in restoration. The hydroelectric strikes marked 
the first time that Marine, Navy, and Air Force pilots had flown 
a combined mission in Korea. The 23 June strike, moreover, was of 
particular significance to 1st MAW since it was also the first time 
that MAGs-12 and -33 were assigned group strikes at specific 
adjacent targets at the same time. 

Led by Colonel Robert E. Galer, the new MAG-12 commander 
since 25 May, group pilots struck and leveled the single power com- 
plex, Chosin 3, in the 23-24 June runs. Colonel John P. Condon, 
who had taken over MAG-33 on 24 May, put 43 jets from VMFs- 
311 and -115 into the air during the two-day mission. The first time 
that its F9Fs had ever been massed for a strike of this type, the 
MAG-33 jets similarly destroyed the Chosin 4 plant, 11 miles 
northwest of Hamhung. 

Although the jets carried a smaller payload than the Corsairs and 
ADs of MAG-12 (approximately 37 gross tons to more than 150 
tons), the extremely precise bombing record made by the Grumman 
Panther jet pilots forever put to rest the doubts about jet accuracy 
that had been held by some in 1st MAW. As the group commander 
later recalled, "The capability of jet strike aircraft for extremely 
accurate bombing, an item of open discussion prior to this time, was 
never questioned in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing after this mis- 
sion." 28 Another gratifying result was that flight personnel on all of 
the 150 Marine aircraft returned safely. In fact, of the total 1,645 
FAF sorties, only 2 aircraft were downed; rescue aircraft successfully 
picked up these two pilots, both U.S. Navy officers. 

It was the high probability of being rescued, if forced to abandon 
their aircraft, that not only eased the minds of pilots on missions 
north of the 38th Parallel but also permitted the fliers a greater 
degree of success. As the MAG-12 commander, Colonel Galer, who 
was shortly to escape imminent capture by the enemy, later declared, 
"I do know that every pilot flying in this theatre should have the 
highest possible morale with the knowledge that so many are ready 
and willing to risk so much to get them." 29 

A Medal of Honor holder from World War II, Colonel Galer 

MajGen John P. Condon ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 1 Oct 66. 
MAG-12 ComdD, Aug 52, p. D-4. 


Operations in West Korea 

was leading a flight of 31 aircraft on 5 August. His objective was 
the supply area and tungsten mines in the mountainous northeastern 
part of North Korea, just below the 39th Parallel and 35 miles 
southwest of Wonsan. After several hits had killed his engine, the 
MAG-12 commander, preparing to parachute, climbed out over the 
side of his plane, but found that he had one foot stuck inside the 
cockpit, probably on the shoulder straps or the loop of the belt. He 
then pulled himself partially back towards the cockpit, freed his 
foot with a vigorous kick, cleared the plane, and headed in spread- 
eagle fashion towards the ground. Almost immediately the plane, 
falling in a nose dive, caught the descending pilot on the shoulder 
and pulled him into a spin. Colonel Galer recovered in time, how- 
ever, to pull the ripcord and thus ease his impact onto enemy terrain. 
He landed within ten feet of his crashed AU. 80 

"Immediately upon getting free of the chute, I ran as rapidly 
as possible, staying low, down through a corn field." 31 At the end 
of the field, the Marine aviator paused momentarily to survey the 
terrain for an escape route. Spotting a dry stream bed nearby, 
Colonel Galer dashed toward it and quickly but cautiously moved 
up it some 100 yards. Then he halted to put into operation a small 
survivor radio to report his position. The message was received by 
the rescue air patrol orbiting overhead which relayed the information 
to pickup aircraft. The patrol advised the downed pilot that a rescue 
helicopter had already departed for the crash area. 

Before breaking radio contact, Colonel Galer told the air patrol 
his planned movements in order to facilitate pickup. He then quickly 
left the area which was located too near the crashed aircraft for 
a rescue attempt. Evading detection by enemy soldiers and curious 
teenagers moving towards the wreckage, the Marine worked his way 
to higher ground, keeping the air patrol advised of his changing 
position. By 1845, a search of the area was underway. Of the events 
that followed: Colonel Galer wrote: 

At 1908 I heard the helicopter go down the next valley and saw it 
disappear. I called, told them to make a 180-degree turn since I was in 
the valley to the southwest and on the north slope. I did not get an 
answer but soon the helicopter came through a saddle in the ridge. . . . 

30 The AU is the attack version of the Marines' famed World War II fighter, the 
F4U Corsair. 

• u MAG-12, ComdD, Aug 52, p. D-2. 

Defending the Line 


I immediately let the red smoke (day flare) go, and came out of the bushes 
. . . calling the helicopter on the radio also. They apparently saw me im- 
mediately and came over and hovered. The mechanic leaned out and swung 
the hoisting sling back and forth. . . . Finally, I grabbed it and got in . . . 
and the pilot took off. . . . The mechanic pulled me up and into the heli- 
copter as we crossed the valley. 32 

The colonel was not yet out of the woods. The trip to a rescue 
ship at Wonsan was marked by intermittent bursts of enemy anti- 
aircraft fire. On one occasion the chopper was hit hard enough to 
spin it completely around. As the rescue craft neared the coast 
patches of fog added to the ha2ards of night flying. About this time 
the warning light indicating low fuel supply came on but "the pilot 
gambled on making the sea at the risk of having to autorotate 
through the overcast into the mountains." 33 It was a correct decision. 
The fuel lasted until the helicopter landed on the rescue vessel. It 
was then 2100. 

Quite naturally the episode brought forth high praise for the 
rescue system, and particularly for those individuals whose skills, 
initiative, and courage made downed crew rescues of this type possi- 
ble. But Colonel Galer also saw some weaknesses. He pointed out 
that rescue helicopter pilots should be kept up to date on changing 
enemy flak positions. The Marine group commander also stressed 
the need for rescue helicopters to establish and maintain a minimum 
safe fuel level which would depend largely upon the position of the 
downed aircraft. One final suggestion, not about the system but the 
aircraft itself, was that fixed-wing aircraft have ejection-type seats. 
Remembering his own difficulties, the MAG-12 commander further 
cautioned pilots to be certain they were free of all straps and cords 
before bailing out. 

In addition to attack missions by tactical aircraft and rescue work 
by its helicopters, the Marine wing was also responsible for pro- 
viding antiaircraft defense. It was not until July 1951, 13 months 
after the nkpa invasion of South Korea, that a formal air defense 
had been established for the country. Fifth Air Force was given the 
command responsibility of coordinating the aerial defense net for 
South Korea and its adjacent sea frontiers. In mid-November 1951, 
the FAF commander had revised the defensive system, dividing his 

32 ibid., p. D-3. 

33 Ibid., p. D^i. 


Operations in West Korea 

area into a northern and southern sector, at a point exactly halfway 
between the 36th and 37th Parallels. 

FAF commanded the northern air defense sector while the south- 
ern sector became the responsibility of CG, 1st MAW. In turn, these 
two sectors were further divided into subsectors. Each of these, 
through a tactical air direction center (TADC), maintained radar 
surveillance of its assigned area and performed plotting and identi- 
fication functions. Each subsector was charged with being "directly 
responsible for sector air defense." 34 

Although the 1st MAW commander had been designated as the 
Air Defense Commander, Southern Sector, Korea, he was not actu- 
ally given the means to carry out this responsibility. He still did not 
have command over his tactical squadrons, nor could he exercise 
control over operations of his tactical air coordination center 
(TACC) or TADC. 35 Moreover, his southern sector could not 
originate practice air warning messages. The wing commander had 
to obtain permission from JOC before he could begin practice inter- 
cepts for training his radar intercept controllers. 

Several other deficiencies existed in the air defense system that 
the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing had inherited. There were no ground 
antiaircraft weapons at the Marine fields until a .50 caliber auto- 
matic weapons battery was detached from the 1st 90mm Antiaircraft 
Artillery Battalion, FMF, early in 1952 and sent to K-3, the home 
field of MAG-33- Other inadequacies were deficient equipment — a 
search radar limited to 30 miles out and 20,000 feet up — and lack 
of an interceptor aircraft capable of rising to meet the faster swept- 
wing jets the enemy was employing. Airfields housing Marine air 
groups did not have revetments for either aircraft parking areas or 
ordnance dumps. 

Not all of these weaknesses were acquired with assumption of 
the air defense mission. There had been a general lack of concern 
about air defense throughout South Korea. This attitude had resulted 
from the air supremacy which the Fifth Air Force had quickly 
established. Camouflage was seldom practiced. Dispersal of aircraft, 
supply dumps, and servicing facilities was employed only rarely. 

84 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 616. 

35 TACC is the senior agency for controlling all tactical aircraft and air warning 
functions; the TADC performs similar functions in an area controlled by the TACC. 
JCS, Dictionary of United States Military Terms for Joint Usage (Short title: JD), 
JCS Pub. 1 (Washington, 1964), p. 141, hereafter JCS, JD. 

Defending the Line 


In fact, at K-6, there was not sufficient land to properly scatter 
installations and aircraft. 

Defense of the southern sector was commanded from K-3 
(Pohang), the site of the TACC (Major Fred A. Steel). Marine 
Ground Control Intercept Squadron 1 (MGCIS-1) was set up 
on the west coast at K-8 and MGCIS-3 (Lieutenant Colonel Owen 
M. Hines), on the east coast, near Pohang. Each of these intercept 
units had an early warning detachment operating off the mainland. 
Antiaircraft artillery was provided by the 90mm AAA battalion, 
which was controlled, however, by eusak. The 1st MAW com- 
mander specified a ready alert status for two aircraft during daylight 
hours. Just before sunrise and sunset, four planes were put on strip 
alert. Aircraft for night alert were provided by VMF(N)-513 until 
April, when the requirement was withdrawn. By 30 June 1952, 1st 
MAW air defense operations had destroyed a total of five enemy 
planes. The F7F night fighters flown by VMF(N)-513, moreover, 
had frequently been scrambled to intercept hostile night intruders 
that had penetrated into the Seoul area, or northern sector. 

This low kill rate did little to atone for the steadily increasing 
number of Marine aircraft lost to enemy flak. Although the number 
of friendly planes destroyed or damaged in air-to-air combat during 
the latter half of Korean hostilities diminished sharply compared 
to the early period, losses due to ground fire were reaching alarming 
proportions in early and mid-1952. In May 1952 Navy and Marine 
air losses to enemy action were twice the total for April, and the 
June figure was even higher. By June, the Communists had massed 
more than half of their antiaircraft artillery along communication 
routes that FAF struck nearly every day. 

Remedial action was soon taken. Stress on flak evasion was empha- 
sized in pilot briefings and debriefings. The MAG-33 intelligence 
section came up with a program that attempted to reduce losses by 
a detailed analysis of flak information. The originator of this system, 
First Lieutenant Kenneth S. Foley, based his method on: 

. . . photo interpretation of an up-to-date flak map, scale 1:50,000, and 
an intelligent utilization of flak reports disseminated by the 67th Tactical 
Reconnaissance Squadron of the 5th Air Force. Frequent briefings were 
given to each squadron on the enemy AA capabilities. Elaborate overlays 
were drawn up and displayed. Target maps, clearly showing AA positions 
and flak clocks [danger areas}, were given to flight leaders to aid them in 
evading known AA guns in their target area. Through flak analysis, the 


Operations in West Korea 

safest route to the target area was determined and an actual attack and re- 
tirement route was suggested. These recommendations appeared in a flak 
summary presented at each combat briefing. 1 ' 6 

Other measures attempted to reduce mounting losses of personnel 
and aircraft. In all Marine air units, evasion and escape tactics were 
stressed. In addition to the FAF de-emphasis on interdiction of 
communication routes that had come about, in part, due to heavy 
aircraft losses, Fifth Air Force decreed that beginning 3 June, "with 
the exception of the AD and F4U aircraft [1st MAW types] only 
one run will be made for each type of external ordnance carried and 
no strafing runs will be made." 37 CTF 77 ordered that in all attack 
runs, aircraft would pull out by the 3,000-foot altitude level. The 
Marines, combining their air and ground efforts, came up with a 
positive program of their own. It was to become the first known 
instance of Marine ground in support of Marine air. 

Although the originator of the idea cannot be positively identified, 
the time that artillery flak suppression firing was first employed can 
be traced back to late 1951, when the division was still in East 
Korea. 38 It was not until June 1952, however, that a published pro- 
cedure for conducting flak suppression firing appeared in Marine 
division records. That same month another type of flak suppression, 
this by an aircraft, was utilized by the 1st Marines, commanded at 
the time by Colonel Walter N. Flournoy. The procedure called for 
the FAC [forward air controller] to relay gun positions to friendly 
strike planes which temporarily diverted their attack to silence the 
located gun. Although the method "worked with good results," 39 
it was not destined to become the system adopted by the Marines. 

The more frequently used flak suppression called for artillery to 

30 VMF(N)-513 ComdD, Jun 52, App II, p. 5. Mention of a flak analysis program 
first appeared in the March 1952 records of MAG-33. Aircraft losses on interdiction 
strikes (the program was not applicable to CAS missions) dropped for the next several 
months. When Lieutenant Foley transferred to the night squadron, he took his system 
with him and had it put into operation there. LtCol Kenneth S. Foley interv by HistBr, 
G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 24 Mar 66. 

37 FAF CbtOps Notam No. 6-10.1 cited in App. 9, PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, Chap. 10, 
p. 10-199. 

38 Pala comments; Nihart comments. Both of these officers, the former artillery, the 
latter infantry, recall flak suppression firing late in 1951 or early in 1952 when the 
division was on the eastern front. Colonel Nihart pointed out, in addition, that "such 
expedients and new tactics went on for some time before getting into the regimental 
commander's reports." 

30 IstMar ComdD, Jun 52, p. 2. 

Defending the Line 


fire on hostile gun positions that could impede the success of a 
friendly close air support strike. Several Marine officers appear to 
have had . a major role in the development and employment of this 
technique. Among them were Brigadier General Frank H. Lamson- 
Scribner, Assistant Commanding General, 1st MAW; Colonel 
Henderson, the 11th Marines commander; and Lieutenant Colonel 
Gerald T. Armitage, 3/1 commander. 

The 1st Marines battalion commander explained how the system 
operated in late spring 1952: 

I was in an outpost watching an air strike. I asked Captain Shoden 
[John C, the battalion forward air controller] to work out some idea 
of flak suppression. Shoden, G-2, and others worked two or three weeks 
to complete the first plot of antiaircraft positions. My idea was to have a 
plane start a run and then pull up before finishing the dive. The enemy 
antiaircraft gunners could not tell that the pilot was pulling out at an 
extremely high level. The batteries would fire and Marine observers would 
plot their positions from their fires. Then, the Marine artillery would lay 
a heavy barrage on these positions. 40 

While observing an air strike from the Marine division sector, 
General Lamson-Scribner noted that prior to the strike there had 
been no preparatory firing on enemy antiaircraft artillery positions. 
After the strike he discussed this matter with General Selden, who 
"directed me to discuss with his chief of staff what I had observed 
and my suggestions that division firepower for 'flak suppression' be 
coordinated with air strikes." 41 The upshot of this was that the 
division chief of staff suggested that the 11th Marines regimental 
commander and his staff members develop an SOP 42 for using 
artillery flak suppression fires in support of close air support strikes. 
It was believed that proper utilization of these fires would reduce 
aircraft losses and further increase the opportunity for a successful 
close air support mission by destruction of enemy antiaircraft 
weapons. 43 

40 LtCol Gerald T. Armitage interv by HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 15 Aug 61. 

41 Ma/Gen Frank H. Lamson-Scribner ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 12 
Oct 66. 

42 An SOP, standing operating procedure, is a set of instructions for conducting oper- 
ations that lend themselves to established procedures. ]CS, ]D, p. 133. 

43 With respect to the effect of enemy fire on attack aircraft, the CO, MAG-33 later 
commented that "Antiaircraft artillery has a direct deterioration effect on pilot accu- 
racy, particularly with regard to care in getting on target and doing a precise job." CO, 
MAG-33 ltr to CG, 1st MAW, dtd 25 Jul 52, quoted in PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 9-76. 


Operations in West Korea 

On 30 June 1952, the 11th Marines published the SOP. Since the 
objective was to prevent enemy fire from interfering with friendly 
strike planes, the key to the entire procedure was the precise coordi- 
nation of artillery fire with the delivery of aircraft ordnance. As 
Colonel Henderson described the system: 

When the infantry regiment received word of an air strike, the air liaison 
officer plotted on the map . . . the target of the strike, the orbit point, the 
direction of approach, and the altitude . . . and direction of pullout. Then 
the artillery liaison officer, by looking at the map, could determine which 
of the Chinese positions could bring effective fire on the strike aircraft. 
The artillery battalion had prearranged code names and numbers for every 
antiaircraft position. All the artillery liaison officer had to do was pick 
up the phone and tell the F.D.C. [fire direction center] 'flak suppression' 
and read off what targets he wanted covered. 

These fires were then delivered on the request of a forward observer 
who was with the forward air controller . . . When there was a forward 
air controller up in the front lines controlling the strike, we would put a 
forward observer with him. When the planes were . . . ready to go, the 
F.O. [forward observer] got the word 'Batteries laid and loaded,' and he 
would tell them to fire. The minute the FO would get the word, 'On the 
way,' the forward air controller would tell the planes to start their run. 
As a result, we had cases where the planes were in their bombing run 
within 30 seconds after the flak suppression was fired, which meant that 
they were in on the target while the positions were still neutralized. The 
question of control and split second timing is of exceeding importance 
because the aircraft are going 300 to 400 miles an hour. . . .** 

Early in the program the MAG-12 commander reported that 
although the flak suppression procedure was not flawless, it was 
proving "very capable and workable." 45 An indication of the success 
of 1st Marine Division pioneering efforts in flak suppression is seen 
in the fact that shortly after it was put into operation "there was 
a steady stream of visitors to the 11th Marines CP to find out what 
[it was] and how we were doing it and to get copies of our SOP." 40 
The procedure was eventually adopted by other Eighth Army units. 

Marine air losses from hostile ground fire during CAS strikes 
immediately began to drop from the June peak and never again 
reached this level. In 124 close support sorties flown by 1st MAW 
on 13 August, not one plane was shot down and only four received 

■■ 4 Henderson Itr 11. 

J5 CO, MAG-12 Spdltr to CG, 1st MAW, dtd 2 Jul 52, Subj: Comments on 11th 
Mar Flak Suppression SOP, cited in PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 5, Chap. 9, p. 9-78. 
* a Henderson Ur II. 

Defending the Line 


minor damage from enemy flak. Although there were some com- 
plaints as to execution of the flak suppression program these would 
be corrected, in the main, by a revised procedure which the 11th 
Marines would undertake in the winter of 1952. 

Spring 1952 on Jamestown 47 

Earlier in the year the Marines had revised their estimate of enemy 
capabilities after the lengthening of the division MLR by I Corps 
and the subsequent heavy enemy attack. The re-evaluation placed 
the most likely course of Chinese action as defending their present 
positions with the 21 infantry battalions assigned and also cautioned 
that the Communists could mount a limited objective attack at any 
time of their choosing. Division intelligence estimated that the 
Chinese could muster up to "57 infantry battalions supported by 12 
artillery battalions and 40 tanks and/or self-propelled guns" for a 
thrust into the Marine sector. 48 

The enemy, however, showed little disposition for any concerted 
ground attack during the remainder of April. But before the month 
ended, Marines, in conjunction with other I Corps divisions, had 
deluged the enemy with artillery and tank fire in Operation clobber. 
The purpose of this shoot was to inflict maximum casualties and 
damage by employment of the element of tactical surprise. The 
reinforced 11th Marines, augmented for this occasion by Company 
D, 1st Tank Battalion and nine of the battalion's 105mm howitzer 
and flame tanks, blasted Chinese CPs, bivouac areas, artillery and 
mortar positions, and observation posts. Marine frontline regiments 
joined in with their organic mortars. Since most of the firing took 
place at night when results were unobserved, no estimate could be 
made as to the effect of the operation on the enemy. 

A new Marine artillery tactic about this time was the counter- 
counterbattery program instituted by the 11th Marines. The regiment 
had developed this technique to counter superior enemy artillery 
strength. This situation, as well as the fact that I Corps artillery 

47 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts 
No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdDs, Apr-Jun 52; 5thMar ComdDs, 
Apr-Jun 52; 7thMar ComdD, Jun 52; llthMar ComdDs, Apr-May 52; 1/5 ComdD 
May 52; 1/7, 2/7 ComdDs, May 52. 

4S IstMarDiv ComdD, Apr 52, p. 1. 


Operations in West Korea 

available to the division was considered inadequate for counter- 
battery support, led the Marine division to adopt the new program 
in May 1952. One provision required a battery in each battalion 
to select counter-counterbattery positions and occupy them for 24 
consecutive hours each week. Another proviso of the program was 
the selection by each battalion of 10 roving gun positions that were 
to be occupied by a single weapon rotated to each place at least 
once weekly. By these tactics, the artillery regiment hoped not only 
to mislead the Chinese in their estimate of the strength and location 
of Marine artillery but also to dilute enemy counterbattery intelli- 
gence by causing him to fire into areas just vacated by friendly guns. 
"The effectiveness of the program was demonstrated on numerous 
occasions when the enemy fired counterbattery into unoccupied 
positions." 49 An added advantage was that of providing deeper 
supporting fires on target areas. 50 

Still another concept regarding the employment of artillery devel- 
oped during the early days of the JAMESTOWN defense. The 11th 
Marines had advised the infantry regiments that it could effectively 
fire on enemy troops attacking friendly positions if the Marines had 
overhead cover. The idea was to use variable time (VT) fuzes 51 
with the standard high explosive (HE) shells. Artillery battalions 
supporting the frontline regiments registered on positions occupied 
frequently by patrols going forward from JAMESTOWN. 

According to the recollections of veteran artillery and infantrymen 
in the division, the first occasion that pre-planned artillery fire was 
placed on friendly positions occurred in May 1952. 52 The episode 
involved a 2/7 platoon patrol that late on 18 May was ordered to 
return to the MLR from an outpost on the former OPLR. Operating 
forward of the center regimental sector, 58 the platoon commander, 
Second Lieutenant Theodore H. Watson, directed that two of the 
three Marine squads return to the MLR. The remaining unit, sur- 
rounded by about 50 Chinese, engaged them in a brisk fire fight.. 

i0 PacFll EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-51. 

50 LtCol Bruce F. Hillam comments on draft MS, dtd 31 Aug 66. 

51 A type of proximity fuze, the V.T. depends upon an external source, such as an 
electronic signal, rather than the force of ground impact, to detonate the shell at a pre- 
determined height over the target. 

52 IstMarDiv ComdD, May 52, p. 4. 

53 The 7th Marines advanced to the line to relieve the 5th Marines in the center 
sector on 11 May. 

Defending the Line 


When the artillery fired to seal off the enemy and box-in the 
defensive position failed to discourage the hostile force, Lieutenant 
Watson ordered his men into the shelter of two nearby bunkers. He 
then requested the artillery to place VT directly over his positions. 54 
The volleys of overhead fire and effective Marine small arms fire 
then forced the enemy to call off his assault. Although the exact 
number of Chinese casualties could not be determined, the new 
fire technique fully accomplished its purpose — repelling the enemy 

Initiating the infantry action in May was the 1st KMC Regiment, 
holding the division left flank, with its 2d and 1st Battalions on 
line. At dusk on 3 May a platoon-size raiding party, under Second 
Lieutenant Kim Young Ha, left an outpost forward of the 1st 
Battalion line on a prisoner-taking mission and headed for the 
objective, Hill 34, adjacent to the rail line to Kaesong and about a 
half-mile west of the Sachon River. When the platoon was within 
approximately 1,000 yards of its goal, a support squad was detached 
near a trail and stream juncture to ambush any enemy attempting to 
attack the raiders from the rear. 55 The remainder of the platoon, 
two assault squads, then continued towards the objective, moving 
cautiously and halting for an hour because of the bright moonlight. 

After midnight the moon disappeared behind the clouds, and 
the Koreans again emerged. They advanced towards a village imme- 
diately south of the objective. After searching a few houses and not 
finding any enemy, the KMCs started on the last leg to Hill 34. 
As soon as the objective came into view the raiders deployed for the 
assault. At 0410 the two squads of Korean Marines charged the 
knoll, immediately drawing heavy Chinese small arms fire. When 
the raiders continued their assault, the enemy retreated to his trench- 
works and bunkers where he continued to fire on the KMCs. Since it 
now appeared to the patrol leader that the probability of taking a 
prisoner was unlikely, he prepared to return to friendly lines. He 
first arranged for artillery to cover the withdrawal of the patrol, 
and then broke off the 18-minute fire fight, taking his only casualty, 

54 The artillery regiment had earlier developed the "box-me-in" fires for outpost de- 
fense. If under heavy attack the outpost could call for these preplanned close-in fires that 
completely surrounded the position. In event of radio or wire communication failures, 
the outpost could call for "box-me-in" or "Fire VT on my position" by signal flare or 
other pyrotechnic device. Henderson Itr II. 

55 This support squad itself was later ambushed. The heavy casualties it received 
prevented its further participation in the raid. KMC Regt UnitRpt 53, dtd 4 May 52. 


perations in West Korea 

a wounded rifleman, with him. The KMCs counted 12 enemy dead. 
No prisoners were taken. In the preliminary action, the support 
squad had also suffered three killed and seven wounded. 

As the KMC raiders were making their way back to the MLR, 
a combat patrol from 1/5, the reserve battalion of the 5th Marines, 
prepared to move out. This patrol was one of many dispatched by 
the battalion during the first week of May in accordance with its 
mission of patrolling in front of the OPLR, between the MLR and 
the OPLR, and throughout the regimental sector. On this occasion, 
the patrol was to occupy the high ground south of former Outpost 
3, which had become the focal point of activity in the center sector. 50 
When used as a base of fire, this ground provided a position from 
which automatic weapons could readily cover enemy lines or tie in 
with adjacent friendly defenses. In addition, the 1/5 patrol was 
to drop off friendly snipers to cover the former OPLR position, to 
maintain surveillance, and to ascertain to what extent the Chinese 
were developing the outpost. The task went to a Company A platoon, 
which the unit commander, First Lieutenant Ernest S. Lee, reinforced 
with light and heavy machine guns. 

At sunup the Marines crossed line jamestown and before 0900 
had reached the high ground they were to occupy. Here the patrol 
leader set up his base of fire, then pushed on with the rest of his 
men to the outpost, receiving occasional mortar fire before reaching 
the old position. While organizing his men at the objective, Lieuten- 
ant Lee received word by radio that the Chinese were preparing to 
attack. Almost immediately, intense shelling struck the forward slope 
of the hill. A Marine aerial observer (AO) detected 60-70 Chinese 
advancing from the next hill, some 800 yards to the front of the 
Marines. The AO also reported that the enemy was firing mortars 
towards OP 3. 

Shortly thereafter the Chinese fire ceased. Moments before it 
lifted, the patrol received a second warning that an enemy attack 
was imminent. Even as this message was being received, about 30 
Chinese rushed the patrol. The Marines immediately took the hostile 
assault force under fire, killing 14 CCF with well-placed small arms 

80 This position, the site of the mid-April battle, along with several others had been 
abandoned when the division withdrew its OPLR late in April. Infantry regiments dis- 
patched frequent patrols in an attempt to discourage the enemy's incorporating the hill 
into his own OPLR. 

Defending the Line 


fire. Overhead, four 1947-vintage Marine Corsair fighters (F4U- 
4Bs) struck at troublesome mortar positions previously located by 
the AO. At 1330 another aerial strike against Chinese mortars and 
enemy positions on the hill north of OP 3 was executed. These two 
air missions were credited with destroying six mortars, damaging two 
others, and wrecking seven personnel bunkers. During the second 
strike the 1/5 patrol began its withdrawal. 

On two occasions during the patrol's return to its base the enemy 
attempted to ambush it. Each time the attempt was thwarted, once 
by the patrol itself and the second time, with the help of friendly 
artillery. On the way back several loud explosions suddenly halted 
the patrol. Investigation revealed that the Marines, carrying their 
casualties of one dead and four wounded, had inadvertently stum- 
bled onto a path not cleared of mines. Two members of the stretcher 
bearer detail were killed and three others wounded by the AP (anti- 
personnel) mines that had not been charted on friendly maps by the 
Marines' predecessors in the defense sector. A mine clearance team 
promptly disposed of the danger. With the aid of fires from a 2/5 
patrol on the nose of a nearby hill, the 1/5 platoon was able to 
break contact. After pulling back several hundred yards, the patrol 
reached a forward medical aid station where jeeps picked up the 
more seriously wounded and took them to helicopters, which com- 
pleted the evacuation. Patrol members reported 27 known enemy 
dead, including one that had been propelled into the air by a direct 
hit from an artillery round. 

The next major Marine ground action soon involved the same 
Company A platoon, but this time as part of a larger force. Colonel 
Culhane, the regimental commander, directed his 1st Battalion to 
launch a new raid on the Outpost 3 area in an attempt to oust the 
Chinese and thereby deny the enemy use of the critical terrain. 
Inflicting casualties and capturing prisoners were additional tasks 
assigned. On 8 May Lieutenant Colonel Nihart issued Operation 
Order 12-52, calling for 1/5 to seize a series of three intermediate 
objectives (S, V and X) en route to OP 3 (Y). (See Map 8.) The 
combat patrol, reinforced by regimental elements, less Company B, 
was to be prepared to move north of OP 3 to occupy the next hill 
mass (Z), if necessary. 

Operational plans called for Lieutenant Lee's Company A to do 
most of the leg work as the assault unit. Captain Leland Graham's 

Defending the Line 


Company C, the diversionary force, was to make a feint against Hill 
67, an enemy position southwest of OP 3, and to neutralize it by 
fire. Weapons Company, under First Lieutenant Ross L. Tipps, in 
support of the Company A force, was to set up a base of fire at a 
designated position (T), southeast of OP 3. Artillery Support was 
to be furnished by 1/11, 4/11, and the attached 4.5-inch Rocket 
Battery. A section of regimental 4.2-inch mortars was also assigned. 
One platoon of Company B tanks was to assist the assault force by 
firing both on designated positions and. targets of opportunity. Close 
air support flights were to be on station at two periods during the 
9 May daylight operation. 

In the early morning hours, under cover of darkness, all units 
moved into position. At 0430 the 1st Platoon of Company A crossed 
the line of departure heading for Objective S, a small ridge south 
and west of OP 3. The 2d Platoon followed and moved out on the 
right, while the 3d Platoon covered the rear. This hill, lightly 
defended, was quickly overrun by the Marines. The 1st Platoon then 
turned northeast towards the four peaks (designated as V, X, Y, and 
Z), its main objectives. These four positions were all situated at 
approximately the same elevation, 450 feet. A distance of some 
1,300 yards separated the first and fourth hills in the north-south 

As the 1/5 platoon neared Objective V, friendly rockets lashed the 
crest of the hill, which was held by a reinforced enemy platoon in 
mutually supporting fighting holes. Assisted by this fire, Marine 
two-man teams with rifles and grenades assaulted the fighting holes 
occupied by the Chinese. As the Marines proceeded to clear the 
objective, half of the Chinese were forced to retreat to safer ground. 
Marines estimated that 15 enemy were killed and a like number 
wounded. By this time, three hours after setting out on the raid, the 
platoon had seized one prisoner and sustained five wounded. 

While reorganizing for the attack against Objectives X and Y, 
the 5th Marines patrol came under a heavy artillery and mortar 
barrage that killed one Marine and wounded three others. As the 
main body of the assault force advanced towards Objective X to 
support the attack, the lead elements of the company headed for 
OP 3- Throughout this maneuver, the company remained under 
heavy artillery fire. 

Proceeding along the eastern slope of the ridgeline to assault 


Operations in West Korea 

knobs X and Y, the platoon had a good view of the effectiveness of 
their friendly supporting artillery fire. In fact, the combined rocket, 
howitzer, mortar, tank, and machine gun fire threw up so much 
dust that at times it restricted the vision of the Marine assault team. 
As platoon members neared the summit of Objective X they en- 
countered a heavy stream of defending fire. A strong counterattack 
from the front and left flank assailed the 1st Platoon, but the 
Marines repulsed the enemy with accurate small arms fire, killing 
six CCF. Infiltrators then attempted to envelop the Marine platoon 
and isolate it from the rest of the Company A assault force. Succes- 
sive waves of Chinese, employing a wedge formation, tried to over- 
run the main body of the assault force. In repulsing this latest 
counterattack, Company A killed 12 and wounded 5 enemy. 

Quickly sizing up the situation, the company commander ordered 
the 1st Platoon to rejoin the rest of the assault force. As the platoon 
began to pull back at 1435 the Chinese blanketed the route with a 
heavy barrage, firing "over four hundred rounds in a five minute 
period." 57 This intense shelling took the lives of three Marines, 
wounded a number of others, and halted the assault force just short 
of its final goal. Even though the Chinese had been driven from the 
three intermediate objectives, the devastating enemy mortar and 
artillery fire made the Marine position untenable. A third of the 
platoon moved back to Objective V; the rest worked their way along 
a route east of that objective. While the rest of Company A and 
Weapons Company elements occupied Hill T, the diversionary force, 
Company C, reinforced by other Weapons Company personnel, had 
remained at a strongpoint not far from Objective S. All supporting 
ground weapons assisted in the withdrawal. In addition to lending 
direct fire support, Marine tanks brought forward emergency sup- 
plies and evacuated casualties. By 1730, the assault force had 
returned to friendly lines, followed shortly by the rest of the 

Although the battalion failed to seize and hold all of its objectives, 
that part of the mission calling for inflicting casualties and taking 

67 1/5 ComdD, May 52, p. 10. 

Defending the Line 


prisoners had been successfully executed. 58 Marines counted 35 
enemy dead, 53 wounded, and 1 POW, and estimated that an addi- 
tional 70 CCF had been killed and 105 wounded. Seven Marines were 
killed and 66 wounded in the action described by some observers as 
"the largest offensive effort the 1st Marine Division [has] made 
since last September." 50 The battalion fire support was well con- 
trolled and coordinated from an observation post on the MLR. Five 
air strikes, including one MPQ-14 mission, were credited with 
destroying three artillery pieces and an equal number of mortars, 
damaging two other mortars, and demolishing six personnel 

As the regiment noted, the earlier withdrawal of the OPLR had 
"altered to a considerable extent the tactics employed in this area. 
This is especially apparent in the number of patrol contacts close to 
the MLR and displayed the eagerness of the enemy to move in on 
any ground not held by friendly forces." 60 At the same time the 
increased number of troops made available for the MLR defense 
considerably strengthened the Jamestown Line itself. Sector respon- 
sibility changed on 11 May. Colonel Russell E. Honsowetz' 7th 
Marines relieved the 5th Marines in the center regimental sector, 
with 2/7 and 1/7 occupying the left and right battalion positions, 

When it took over the peace corridor sector the 7th Marines also 
assumed the responsibility for emergency rescue of the Allied truce 
delegates at Panmunjom. 01 The regiment advanced a mile nearer the 
objective when it moved the pick-up force's assembly area to within 
400 yards of the line of departure. The 7th Marines also replaced 
the tanks in the force with M-39 personnel carriers, a U.S. Army- 
developed tracked vehicle similar in appearance to the Marine 
amphibian tractor. Another vehicle the 7th Marines retained in its 
task force was a medium tank equipped with additional radios. This 
armored communication and control vehicle was used as a radio 

53 Lieutenant Colonel Nihart believed that the heavy enemy shelling, which had caused 
the early retirement of his battalion, had been possible either because Chinese mortar 
and artillery positions were so well camouflaged that intelligence had not located them 
or else so well protected that UNC counterbattery fire had failed to destroy them. Ni- 
hart comments. 

69 5thMar ComdD, May 52, p. 9. 

60 Ibid., p. I. 

01 This force and its mission at various times were known as "Task Force Jig" or 
"Operation Snatch." 


Operations in West Korea 

relay station on the MLR to assist in liaison between moving 
infantry and tank units. Marine riflemen dubbed this command tank 
the porcupine, to describe the effect of many bristling antennas 
sticking out from its top. While the Marine division right sector, 
occupied by the 1st Marines, remained relatively quiet during the 
spring months on JAMESTOWN, the 7th Marines in the center 
MLR would shortly be involved in the division's major ground 
action in late May. 

As part of the active defense of its Jamestown line, Lieutenant 
Colonel Daughtry, commanding 1/7, issued a directive on 26 May 
intended to deny to the enemy key terrain remaining on the old 
OPLR. Operation Plan 16-52 called for an attack to seize two 
parcels of high ground to the regiment's right front. At the same 
time, the battalion was to neutralize two Chinese positions west of 
the main objectives, Hill 104 (Objective 1) and the Tumae-ri Ridge 
(Objective 2), approximately a half-mile further north. The desig- 
nated attack force, Captain Earl W. Thompson's Company A, was 
heavily reinforced. While Company A pursued its mission to the 
right, a Company C reinforced platoon under Second Lieutenant 
Howard L. Siers would conduct a feint on a pair of enemy positions 
to the left. Support for the operation would come from 2/11, two 
tank platoons, and from air, which was to be on call. 

H-Hour was set for 0300 on 28 May. Attack and diversionary 
forces on schedule crossed the line of departure, a half-mile north 
of the MLR. Captain Thompson's main force advanced nearly to the 
base of Hill 104 before the Chinese, in estimated reinforced platoon 
strength, began to counterattack. The fight came to an abrupt end 
when Second Lieutenant John J. Donahue led his platoon to the 
top with bayonets fixed. 02 As the Marines dug in they came under 
heavy mortar and artillery fire from CCF strongholds to the north. 
On the left, meanwhile, Lieutenant Siers had received orders to seize 
the closer of his two objectives, former OPLR 5, instead of merely 
placing suppressive fire on it. 

Moving forward from its base of fire, the platoon soon established 
contact with the enemy. At 0554 the platoon began its attack on 
the objective. Despite the close-in, hand-to-hand fighting, when it 
became apparent the assault could not be stopped the enemy gave 

02 Maj Kenneth A. Seal comments on draft MS, dtd Oct 66. At the time of this attack, 
Lieutenant Seal commanded the 2d Platoon, A/l/7. 

Defending the Line 


way to Marine persistence in seizing the hill. By 0700 the Company 
C, 7th Marines platoon had secured its objectives and begun prep- 
arations for defense of the positions as well as continued support 
of the main attack force. Heavy casualties, however, forced Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Daughtry to recall the platoon and it returned to 
the lines by 0930. 

Up on Hill 104, Company A, 1/7 faced practically the same 
situation. Taking Objective 1 had been costly and the advance 
through withering enemy fire was adding to the casualties. A rein- 
forcing platoon was sent from the MLR to help the company dis- 
engage and return to friendly lines. Contact with the enemy was 
broken shortly after noon. With the aid of air and artillery, the 
company was able to make its way to the MLR by 1405. 

Advancing only as far as it did, the attack, like the one earlier 
that month, failed to take all the designated objectives. Casualties 
to the 1/7 Marines were placed at 9 killed 63 and 107 wounded. 
Most of the latter were evacuated for further treatment. Forty-five 
of the enemy were counted dead and three wounded. Marines 
estimated another 40 enemy killed and 40 more wounded. 64 The 
action resulted in a casualty toll that was the highest to date for 
any Marine company in western Korea. All three Company A rifle 
platoon leaders — Second Lieutenants Donahue, Jules E. Gerding, 
and Kenneth A. Seal — were wounded. This battle also became the 
occasion for another unwelcomed record — 4,053 rounds of enemy 
incoming, during a 24-hour period. 

Following this late May offensive, a brief period of relative calm 
settled over the MLR. Marine and Chinese units continued the active 
defense of their respective sectors, with generally only a limited 
number of contacts. Fire fights between Marine patrols and CCF 
defenders lasted only a short time and usually ended when artillery 

03 Two Marines killed in the action were later posthumously awarded the Medal of 
Honor. Corporal David B. Champagne, A/ 1/7, was responsible for saving the lives of 
the three other members of his fire team. When a grenade fell in their midst, Cham- 
pagne grabbed it to hurl back to CCF positions. Just as it cleared his hand, the grenade 
exploded, showering lethal shrapnel into the body of the 19-year-old Rhode Islander. 
One of the C/l/7 reinforcement Marines, Private First Class John D. Kelly, had con- 
ducted a one-man assault against a dug-in Chinese machine gun crew. Though painfully 
wounded during this encounter, he disposed of the enemy, then reduced a second weap- 
ons bunker. While firing point-blank into a third position the brave Marine was fatally 
wounded. This 1/7 action was the first in the western Korea defense to result in mul- 
tiple Medal of Honor awards. 

04 1/7 ComdD, May 52, pp. 17-18. 


Operations in West Korea 

fire caused the patrol to pull back. Even though this state of affairs 
remained essentially unchanged through June, several other events 
that month would affect Marine defense of the westernmost sector 
in I Corps. 

End of the Second Year of War 65 

A second realignment of the Marine-Commonwealth boundary 
along Line JAMESTOWN was made on 1 June. Part of the rear of the 
MLR was moved eastward to enable the Marine division to assume 
full responsibility for a key ridgetop. Prior to this date the hill mass 
had been divided along its crest, a factor that made it a potential 
trouble spot for both divisions. On 23 and 24 June, the 7th Marines 
MLR battalions relocated their positions towards the enemy along 
JAMESTOWN. This readjustment of the line varied from 1,300 yards 
in the center of the regimental sector to 400 yards near its right. 
The additional terrain strengthened the division front by placing 
the center regiment on improved and more defensible ground. 

A week before this MLR change took place, there had been a 
shift in occupants in its far right sector. Colonel Culhane's 5th 
Marines replaced the 1st on line, which then went into division 
reserve. Manning the MLR were 2/5 on the left and 1/5 to the 

In early June the recently appointed UN commander, General 
Clark, made his first visit to the 1st Marine Division front. During 
his briefing, General Selden reviewed the unusual combat difficulties 
confronting his Marines. In addition to the unfavorable terrain, the 
division commander noted the special operational restrictions caused 
by proximity to the truce talk site. Presence of a large number of 
uncharted minefields created another obstacle. Herculean efforts were 
required of the Marines to simultaneously man and construct defenses 
over 35 miles of jamestown. Adding to Marine problems were 
the facts that ground units were not receiving sufficient close air 

05 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpts 
No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52; 5th Mar ComdDs, Apr, 
Jun 52; 7thMar ComdDs, May-Jun 52; 1/7 ComdD, May 52; KMC Regt Unit Rpt 120, 
dtd 30 Jun 52. 

Defending the Line 


support and the capabilities of the Chinese were constantly increasing. 

Chinese order of battle (OOB) information was fed into the 
division intelligence network by higher commands, I Corps and 
eusak, and adjacent units, but a large part of the data about Com- 
munist forces was produced by the division itself. Frontline units 
in contact with the enemy, by observation of his activities, supplied 
the bulk of intelligence about enemy defense tactics, employment 
of weapons, and combat characteristics. Supporting Marine division 
units, particularly artillery and armor, fed more facts into the system, 
mostly through identification of the caliber of enemy shells fired 
at the Marines. As a result of its missions forward of the line and 
actions in defense of it, the division reconnaissance company also 
contributed to the intelligence network. Individual Marines, perform- 
ing as tactical air observers and artillery air observers, as well as the 
VMO and HMR pilots, were other important sources readily avail- 
able to the 1st Marine Division. 

G-2 directed the division intelligence effort, including processing 
of raw material and supplying of updated reports to 1st Division 
units. The G-2 section also maintained OOB and target identifica- 
tion data on Chinese units and their commanders. Members of the 
G-2 staff also assisted in interrogation of prisoners of war (POWs), 
screened the civilians apprehended in unauthorized areas, debriefed 
Marines exposed to enemy intelligence, and conducted inspections 
of division internal security. In areas where the 1st Marine Division 
had only a limited intelligence capability it turned to eusak for 

Eighth Army teams augmented the division counterintelligence 
efforts and provided most of the translation service. In addition, 
three radio intercept units furnished information to the Marines. 
The critical importance of this service had been proven during 
several combat patrols in May when additional information was 
instantly radioed to a friendly unit under fire. 

Other intelligence activities were less beneficial to the Marines. 
These operations were conducted by Tactical Liaison Officers 
(TLOs, friendly Koreans trained by U.S. intelligence teams), and 
members of a Higher Intelligence Detachment (HID), a Korean 
unit assigned from eusak. Both the TLO and HID proved of 
limited value to the division, due to the generally poor educational 
background of the agents, their inadequate training, and frequent 


Operations in West Korea 

failure to return from assignments behind enemy lines. Some 
Marines believed the basic fault in these operatives lay in "an 
exaggerated opinion of their importance." 00 

Several division intelligence Marines, in conjunction with training 
and shore party personnel, took part in an informational activity of 
a different type. These Marines reconnoitered several friendly islands 
off western Korea to determine their suitability for division landing 
exercises. The second one inspected, Tokchok-to, 30 miles southwest 
of Inchon, was selected. By early June planning had progressed to 
the point where a program had been developed for bimonthly 
battalion landing team exercises. The KPR maneuver force, appropri- 
ately reinforced, was designated as a participating unit. Landings 
were to employ boat teams, amphibian tractors, and helicopters. The 
entire program was designed to provide refresher training for 
Marines in carrying out their primary mission of amphibious assault. 
By the end of June, 3/5 and 3/1, in turn, had captured Tokchok-to. 

Other training concentrated more on the task at hand. Division 
units in reserve rehearsed tactics for offensive and defensive war- 
fare. Most ground units conducted extensive schooling in both mine 
and booby trap detection and clearance. Recognizing that patrolling 
was an important part of a Marine's life on the MLR, the division 
included in its Noncommissioned Officers' (NCO) Leadership 
School a thorough indoctrination in patrolling tactics. 07 More than 
50 percent of the training at all levels was at night. In addition, 
an extensive orientation was conducted for newly arrived combat 
replacements, who could not be committed to action for 72 hours 
after joining the division. 

A week after the division's June replacements landed at Inchon, 
General Selden's headquarters received a directive that would 
affect a number of these new Marines. On 10 June CG, eusak 
ordered his corps commanders to make continuous efforts to secure 
the identification and changes in the enemy order of battle. Two 
days later I Corps followed the Eighth Army order with a letter 
of instruction which called for each I Corps division to "prepare 
plans for launching swift, vigorous, and violent large-scale raids to 

00 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-33. 

07 BGen Austin R. Brunelli ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 13 Sep 66, 
hereafter Brunelli ltr. The division chief of staff during more than half of 1952, Colonel 
Brunelli later observed that the "school produced more effective patrolling and . . . 
contributed to reducing our casualties." 

Defending the Line 


capture prisoners, to gain intelligence, to destroy enemy positions 
and material and/or strong limited objective attacks to improve 
and strengthen Line Jamestown." 68 Large scale was defined as an 
"attacking force limited to battalion or regimental (brigade) size 
with appropriate armor and artillery support." 69 Divisions were 
required to submit detailed proposals for future action by 21 June. 
Marine division plans for limited objective attacks during July by 
units of the 7th Marines and KMCs were subsequently prepared and 
forwarded to I Corps. 

One operation conducted north of the 2/5 left battalion sector 
early on 22 June was not, however, in response to this enemy iden- 
tification mission. Late the previous day, Company G had sent out 
a 16-man ambush. Before the Marines reached their destination, a 
small enemy force, itself lying in wait, began to pour a heavy volume 
of fire on the Marines. At this point the patrol was ordered to pull 
back. One group of 10 made it back to the MLR; the remaining 
Marines headed for a nearby combat outpost in friendly hands. 
Reports to the company revealed one Marine not accounted for. 
The outpost commander was directed to search the area for the 
missing Marine. This reconnaissance by a fire team failed, but a 
reinforced squad sent out later brought back the body of the Marine 
who had been killed by Chinese artillery. 

While this rescue effort was in progress, another similar action 
was under way. Not long after its arrival on the MLR, Company 
E, 2/5 had spotted in the No-Man's-Land between the two main 
defensive lines a figure that appeared to be the body of a 
Marine. Since one man had been reported missing from an earlier 
1st Marines patrol, recovery of the body, which had been propped 
up against a mound of dirt in the open, was undertaken. A special 
Company E patrol left the main line shortly before dawn on the 
22d and reached the recovery area at daybreak. After artillery had 
laid down smoke, the patrol moved in, quickly recovered the body, 
and set out for friendly territory. Before the Marines had advanced 
very far on their return trip, the Chinese interdicted their route 
with heavy mortar fire, which killed one member of the patrol and 
wounded another. When the 5th Marines patrol returned to 

IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, App. I, p. 8. 


Operations in West Korea 

JAMESTOWN shortly after 0700, it carried not only the body it had 
recovered but also that of the Marine who had been killed on the 
recovery mission. 

By the end of June, major command changes had taken place 
within the 1st Marine Division as well as in several other UNC 
components. On 13 June, Brigadier General Robert O. Bare took 
over the second spot from Brigadier General Twining. Both ADCs 
were graduates of the Naval Academy and both were native mid- 
Westerners (General Bare — Iowa, General Twining — Wisconsin). 
Before joining the 1st Marine Division in Korea General Bare had 
served at Camp Pendleton, California where most recently he had 
been commanding general of the Training and Replacement Com- 
mand. His World War II experience included participation in 
both European and Pacific campaigns. He was the Staff Officer, 
Plans, in the U.S. Naval Section for the Allied naval group that 
planned the amphibious assault at Normandy, France. Later he 
served in the Peleliu and Okinawa campaigns and, with the ending 
of hostilities, had participated in the surrender and repatriation of 
the Japanese in north China. 

The outgoing ADC, General Twining, was being reassigned to the 
Office of the Commandant, HQMC. For his outstanding service as 
assistant division commander from March through May 1952, he 
received a Gold Star in lieu of his second Legion of Merit with 
Combat "V." 

Other high-level changes in command that had also recently 
taken place had included the UNC commander himself, General 
Ridgway, who had been succeeded in mid-May by General Clark. 
Major General Glenn O. Barcus, USAF, had assumed command 
of Fifth Air Force, replacing Lieutenant General Everest on 30 
May. On 4 June, Vice Admiral Robert P. Briscoe had been named 
the new Commander, Naval Forces Far East to succeed Vice Admiral 
C. Turner Joy who had held the position since August 1949. And 
in I Corps, Major General Paul W. Kendall, USA, took over as 
corps commander on 29 June from Lieutenant General O'Daniel. 

The end of the second year of the Korean fighting and the 
beginning of the third was observed by the Chinese with an attack 
against the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, manning JAMESTOWN posi- 
tions to the left of the regimental sector. Commanded at that time 

Defending the Line 


by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas J. Cross, 2/5 was new on line, 
having relieved 2/1 during the night of 15-16 June. 

Late in the afternoon of 24 June, the enemy began registering his 
mortars and artillery on MLR company positions of 2/5 and a 
portion of the rear area occupied by the battalion 81mm mortars. 
Chinese incoming, sometimes intense, sometimes sporadic, continued 
until shortly after 2130. By this time the CCF were moving down 
their trenches toward a key outpost, Yoke, known also as Hill 159, 
which was still occupied on daytime basis by the Marines and lay 
north of the Company F Sector (Captain Harold C. Fuson). Mo- 
ments later, the 34 men temporarily outposting Yoke saw the Chinese 
and opened with small arms . fire, but the Marine positions were 
quickly enveloped by the Chinese. The Americans occupying the 
forward slopes of Yoke suffered many casualties from the intense 
fires supporting the enemy rush. 

While the initial attack was in progress, the Chinese were able 
to position and fire machine guns from behind the outpost and in 
trenches on the forward slopes. Communist mortars interdicted the 
Marine supply routes to make normal withdrawal and reinforcement 
measures difficult. The Marines moved into bunkers, called down pre- 
planned fires, and continued the defense. Although the Chinese had 
overrun Yoke, they could not evict the Marines. At about 0300, the 
enemy withdrew. When the 2/5 troops followed to reoccupy the for- 
ward slopes of Yoke, the enemy renewed his attack and struck again. 
As before, the Marines took to bunkers and called in defensive artil- 
lery fires. These boxing fires fell around the outpost perimeter until 
first light when the attackers withdrew for the second time. 

Four other outposts in the battalion area were involved in the 
anniversary attack, but the action around Yoke was by far the heav- 
iest. It resulted in 10 Marines of 2/5 killed and 36 wounded. At 
Yoke alone, 9 were killed and 23 wounded. Enemy dead were 12 
known and 50 estimated killed. Chinese wounded were estimated 
at 100. At one point during the attack on Yoke, the outpost com- 
mander reported that the enemy were wearing gas masks and using 
tear-gas grenades! Investigation revealed that the Chinese had car- 
ried and even worn the masks, but that they had employed white phos- 
phorus grenades rather than tear gas. This was the first instance 
Marine division personnel had ever encountered of CCF soldiers 
carrying gas masks in an attack and it was "believed part of the 


Operations in West Korea 

enemy's hate campaign to impress their troops with the possible use 
by the UN Forces of CBR (Chemical, Biological and Radiological) 
warfare." 70 

This violent eruption of enemy activity on the night of 24 June was 
followed by a brief period of greatly reduced ground action. Late on 
the 29th, however, the battlefront lull was broken when the 1st 
KMC Regiment sent out a raiding party to capture Chinese soldiers 
and their weapons and equipment, to inflict casualties, and to destroy 
positions. Second Lieutenant Kwak Sang In had his reinforced pla- 
toon from the 3d Company, 1st Battalion, equipped with rifles, car- 
bines, machine guns, flamethrowers, and explosives. Target for the 
attack was an enemy outpost four miles south of Panmunjom that 
overlooked the Sachon River. 

The patrol followed the general pattern of previous raids. It made 
use of supporting elements positioned on high ground in front of the 
objective. In this action the patrol struck from the rear, using artil- 
lery fire for both the assault and the withdrawal. Another similarity 
existed in that the results were nearly the same — no prisoners taken 
but fewer casualties to the attackers. One difference from earlier 
operations was that this patrol employed flamethrowers and TNT 
for destroying bunkers and inflicting casualties. Both weapons were 
credited in the killing of 12 and the wounding of 6 Chinese, in 
destroying 1 mortar and 7 bunkers, and in burning 3 other bunkers 
and numerous automatic weapons and rifles. Because of the heavy 
weight of a loaded flamethrower and the small size of the Korean 
Marines carrying these weapons, the flamethrower operators were 
fairly well exhausted by. the end of the patrol. 

A Long Fourth of July n 

The approach of the American Fourth of July holiday marking 
an earlier struggle for freedom was appropriately accompanied by 
ground action initiated by all of the mainland MLR regiments. In 
the KMC area, a 3 July raiding party struck at forward enemy posi- 

70 Selden, Div Staff Rpt, p. 16. 

71 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt 
No. 5, Chap. 8; and IstMarDiv, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar, 1/5, 2/5, ill, ill, 1st TkBn 
ComdDs, Jul 52. 

Defending the Line 


tions before dawn, killing nine Chinese. In the center regimental 
sector Colonel Thomas C. Moore's 72 7th Marines were also engaged 
in an active sector defense. In the left battalion spot 3/7, which had 
replaced 2/7 on line, dispatched raids on each of the first three 
nights of the month. Its Company G patrol on the night of 2-3 July 
was to be involved in one of the most costly small unit actions in the 
western Korea tour of duty for the Marine division. 

Operational plans called for the platoon night raid on the 2d to 
be followed by a dawn attack the next morning. In both actions, the 
prisoner-taking aspect of the mission was considered a primary one. 
The early part of the operation was uneventful. One platoon moved 
forward toward the objective, Hill 159 (Yoke), 1,200 yards beyond 
combat outpost (COP) White, to the regimental left, without making 
contact with the enemy. The platoon then established a base of fire 
on favorable terrain from which the attack by the second platoon 
could be supported. 

The second platoon passed through the forward position of the 
first shortly before 0630 and moved out into enemy terrain. It ad- 
vanced less than 300 yards before its progress was halted by a Chi- 
nese force of battalion strength occupying the objective, Hill 1 59- 
Heavy enemy rifle and machine gun fire, hand grenades, mortar and 
artillery deluged the advancing Marines. Many of them quickly 
became casualties, but the operation continued, due in part to the 
determination and initiative of the NCOs. One of these was Staff 
Sergeant William E. Shuck, Jr., in charge of a machine gun squad. 
When the leader of one of the rifle squads became a casualty, Ser- 
geant Shuck assumed command of that squad in addition to his own. 
Although wounded, he organized the two units and led them against 
the objective. Nearing the summit of the hill, the sergeant was hit a 
second time. Still he refused evacuation, remaining well forward in 
the lines to direct his assault force. 

It was not until he had received orders to break contact with the 
enemy that the sergeant pulled back from the attack. During the 
withdrawal he looked after the other Marine casualties, making cer- 
tain that all dead and wounded had been evacuated from the zone 
of action. While directing the last of the evacuation, Sergeant Shuck 

72 Colonel Moore took over regimental command on 11 June. The former CO, Colonel 
Honsowetz, had been named Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 of the 1st Marine Division. 


Operations hi West Korea 

was struck by a sniper's bullet and killed by this third hit. 73 He was 
one of four Marines killed in the engagement. Forty others were 
wounded. Although no Chinese were captured, Marines estimated the 
enemy suffered losses of 50 killed and an additional 150 wounded. 

To the east of the 7th Marines, the 5th Marines in the right MLR 
sector ordered a company-size patrol, also on the night of 2-3 July. 
Company A, 1/5 was directed to attack successively three outposts 
in the vicinity of the village of Samichon along the river bearing 
the same name and two miles beyond the point where the MLR 
crossed the river. After the reinforced company had taken the first 
two objectives, which were unoccupied, it received orders from divi- 
sion to return to the battalion area. Despite the fact the patrol had 
ventured far beyond the Marine lines, it did not come into contact 
with any Chinese forces. 

A 2/5 combat patrol leaving the MLR just after dawn was suc- 
cessful in inflicting casualties on the enemy, taking prisoners, and 
destroying enemy field fortifications. The patrol made good prog- 
ress until a Marine inadvertently set off an enemy mine. This mis- 
hap gave away the patrol's location and prompted reprisal by the 
Chinese. A one-hour fire fight followed. Then the patrol called in 
smoke and returned under its cover to jamestown. Marine casual- 
ties were 1 killed and 11 wounded. The second 2/5 patrol that 
same date was a successful ambush completed 10 minutes before 
midnight. In the brief clash that developed, Marine ambushers 
killed 6 enemy and wounded 8 more. The Marine force suffered no 

The ambush patrol returned 15 minutes after midnight on 4 July. 
Even at that early hour division artillerymen had already initiated an 
appropriate ceremony to mark the Fourth. On 2 July, I Corps had 
directed the massing of fires on 4 July on the most remunerative 
targets in each division area. All objectives in the corps sector were 
to be attacked simultaneously at specified times for a one-minute 
period by employing a firing technique known as time on target 

,3 The leadership, bravery, and unselfish devotion to duty earned for Sergeant Shuck 
the Medal of Honor, an award made to 14 Marines during the fighting in West 
Korea. During the earlier part of the war, 28 Marines had received the Medal of 
Honor. Of these, 17 were awarded posthumously. Five Navy hospital corpsmen, all 
attached to the 1st Marine Division, also earned the MOHV These awards, with one ex- 
ception, were for heroism under combat conditions during the 1952-1953 period of the 
Korean War. 

Defending the Line 


(TOT) , 74 Normal daily fires were also to be carried out. Designated 
as Operation firecracker, the shoot expended 3,202 rounds in the 
division sector. Light and medium battalions of the 11th Marines, 
plus its 4.5-inch Rocket Battery destroyed some enemy trenches, 
bunkers, mortar and artillery positions, and damaged others. The 
division reported that the special fires on 4 July had alsc resulted 
in 44 known CCF casualties, including 21 dead, and 12 irnre who 
were estimated to have been injured. 

More casualties, however, resulted from the issuing of another I 
Corps directive, this one dealing with the conduct of raids to seize 
prisoners, obtain information about the enemy, and to destroy his 
positions, supplies, and equipment. Back in June, the EUSAK com- 
mander had first stressed to his corps commanders the increased 
importance of combat raids to obtain additional intelligence during 
this period of stabilized conflict. 

Although General Selden had submitted two division plans, he 
strongly believed that smaller patrols could accomplish the objec- 
tive with fewer casualties and loss of life. 75 In particular, the divi- 
sion commander pointed out to I Corps that adequate defense of the 
35-mile-long Marine division front did not permit the withdrawal 
of a sizable force for patrol missions without endangering the secu- 
rity of the entire Corps sector. The attack order was issued, however, 
on 3 July for the first large-scale raid to be conducted prior to 7 July. 
The code name buckshot 2b was assigned for this particular raid. 
As soon as he received the date of execution for the proposed 
operation, the Marine division commander advised I Corps that desig- 
nation of 7 July as the cut-off date for the raid precluded proper 
rehearsal of attack plans. The operation would also conflict with 
rotation. to the States of 2,651 Marines, whose replacements would 
not be available until 11 July. Corps turned a deaf ear; division then 
ordered a battalion-size attack for the night of 6-7 July. 

Before dusk on 6 July, Lieutenant Colonel Daughtry's reinforced 

74 In the TOT technique, participating units time their initial volleys to ensure that 
their shells arrive on the target at the same time. 

75 Among division commanders in the I Corps area, General Selden was not alone in 
his grave misgivings of this method of gaining information about the Chinese. Major 
General A. J. H. Cassels, 1st Commonwealth Division, shared with the Marine com- 
mander the belief that such operations were too costly for the intended purpose. McGill 
comments and Brigadier C. N. Barclay, The First Commonwealth Division: The Story 
of British Commonwealth Land Forces in Korea, 1950-1953 (Aldershot, England: Gale 
and Polden Ltd., 1954), p. 127, hereafter Barclay, Commonwealth. 


Operations in West Korea 

1st Battalion, 7th Marines moved into position — on the left, a tank- 
infantry force, A/1/7 (still under Captain Thompson), to create a 
diversion; in the center, the main assault force, Company C (Captain 
Robert A. Owens) ; and on the right, a reinforced platoon from 
Company B (Captain Lyle S. Whitmore, Jr.) to support the attack 
by fire from positions close to the objective, Yoke. Earlier, three 
reinforced squads from Captain Thompson's unit had occupied com- 
bat outposts in the area of operations to deny the use of key terrain 
to the enemy and to provide additional fire support in the attack. 
At 2200, Captain Owens' Company C crossed the line of departure 
and set its course for Yoke, three-quarters of a mile northeast. Five 
minutes later the Company B support unit moved out to occupy the 
intermediate objective, COP Green, one-half mile southeast of Yoke. 
As it took up positions on COP Green, Captain Whitmore's Com- 
pany B platoon discovered that no Chinese were in its vicinity; in 
fact, the platoon was not to encounter any enemy forces during 

Even though Company B failed to engage any Chinese, the 
remainder of the battalion encountered more than its share. About 
450 yards southwest of the objective the Company C attack force 
was hit by an enemy ambush, which cut off Captain Owens' lead 
element. Although the Chinese directed strong efforts at halting the 
Marine advance, they were unsuccessful in this attempt. The Marines 
pressed the attack and seized Yoke 20 minutes after midnight. 

On the left, the diversionary attack unit, Company A supported by 
the five tanks of the 2d Platoon, Company D, 1st Tank Battalion, 
and by a section of flame tanks from the armored battalion head- 
quarters, began its mission at 2355. In three-quarters of an hour, 
the tank-infantry unit reached its objective, the first high ground 
southwest of Yoke. Tanks turned their 90mm guns on known Chinese 
positions on the hill to the north. During the next hour, the big 
guns of the M-46 medium tanks sent 49 rounds into enemy emplace- 
ments. The Marine tanks ceased fire at 0113 when Captain Thompson 
was alerted to assist Company C. He left one rifle platoon with 
the tanks. 

Over on the high ground to the north and east, the attack force 
was under heavy fire from Communist mortars and artillery and was 
also receiving a number of enemy small-unit probes. At 0200, Com- 
pany A made contact with Company C. Captain Thompson found 

Defending the Line 


the main force somewhat disorganized as a result of the wounding 
of the company commander, Captain Owens, the loss of several key 
officers and NCOs, and the effects of the lead element of Company 
C being ambushed and cut off. After being briefed on the situation 
by Captain Owens and conducting a reconnaissance, Captain Thomp- 
son recommended to the battalion commander that the entire force 
be recalled before daylight. At 0310 the two companies at Yoke 
began to disengage, returning to the MLR by 0636 on the 7th, 
without further casualties. 

The one platoon of Company A and seven tanks of the diversion 
unit were still in their forward positions on the left and had pre- 
pared to resume firing. At dawn the M-46s relaid their guns on 
targets that had become visible. Tank gunners destroyed two obser- 
vation posts and three machine gun positions and damaged many 
feet of trenchlines. At one point in the firing, the tank platoon 
commander, Second Lieutenant Terry K. Donk, using a power scope, 
observed ". . . two officers in forest green uniforms without equip- 
ment. They were definitely giving orders to machine gunners and 
infantry." 70 These 2 were among the 19 counted casualties (10 
wounded) that the tankers inflicted during BUCKSHOT. 

With the return at 0645 of the tank-infantry diversion force, the 
special operation for obtaining prisoners and information ended. 
No Chinese had been captured and no data gleaned from Commu- 
nist casualties, listed as the 19 reported by the tankers and an esti- 
mated 20 more wounded or killed. Marine casualties from the oper- 
ation were out of proportion to the results achieved — 12 dead, 85 
wounded, and 5 missing. It had been a high price to pay for a ven- 
ture of this type, particularly when the primary objectives went unac- 

During the entire 4-7 July period, 22 Marines had lost their lives 
in combat operations. Division reported that 268 Marines had been 
wounded during the long Fourth of July. These figures were the 
highest since September 1951 when large scale attacks by UN forces 
had first been abolished in line with the new tactic of positional 
warfare that would be waged until the truce talks resulted in an 

70 1st TkBn ComdD, Jul 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

Changes in the Lineup' 1 '' 

Division casualties were considerably higher during the first week 
in July than they were for the rest of the month. Once the pace of 
combat slowed, following the initial flurry of activity, the front again 
settled down to the patrol, raid, and ambush routine that had marked 
the static period of the Korean fighting. In accordance with the 
orders previously issued by higher authority the division placed con- 
tinued emphasis on gathering all information it could about the 
enemy, his dispositions, and tactics. To assist in this effort, General 
Selden in July removed his reconnaissance company from defense 
of its small sector of jamestown and directed the unit to conduct 
training for its primary mission, obtaining intelligence about the 
enemy. Its place on the MLR was assumed by the two amphibian 
tractor companies then on line. 

Another change of lineup took place on 14 July. At this time a 
battalion from the 15th Regiment, U.S. 3d Infantry Division took 
over the role of the maneuver element in the Kimpo Provisional 
Regiment, then held by 1/1, thereby releasing that battalion to its 
parent unit. With this change, the 1st Marine Division had a full 
regiment in reserve for the first time since its arrival in western 
Korea. A later shift in units occurred on 26 July when the 7th 
and 1st Marines traded places and missions. At that time the MLR, 
from west to east, was manned by the KPR, 1st AmTrac Bn, KMC, 
1st Marines, and 5th Marines. 

Opposing them in mid-July were an estimated 27 infantry bat- 
talions, whose primary missions were to defend the sectors assigned. 
The division credited these units with the capability of launching 
limited objective attacks at any time or of taking part in a major 
attack with a force of up to 57 infantry and 16 artillery battalions, 
augmented by 40 tanks or self-propelled guns. It was estimated also 
that the enemy could cross the Han in battalion strength in the vicin- 
ity of the northern shore of Kimpo Peninsula at any time and that 
Communist aircraft could attack anywhere in the division sector. 
Enemy forces identified at the end of July, from west to east, were 
the 193d, 195th, and 194th Divisions of the 65th CCF Army; the 
189th Division of the 63d CCF Army; and the 118th Division, 40th 

The material in this section is derived from the IstMarDiv ComdD, Jul 52. 

Defending the Line 


CCF Army, which had recently moved from a position opposite the 
Commonwealth and U.S. 3d Infantry Divisions. Infantry strength of 
the Communists was established at 28,328. 

Replacement and Rotation™ 

Marine infantry strength at the end of July 1952 was little more 
than half of the Chinese total. The division personnel strength was 
maintained by the monthly replacement and rotation program of 
Marines to fill vacancies created by the return of Marine combat 
personnel to CONUS (Continental United States) and combat losses. 
In the second quarter of 1952, the division rotated 433 officers and 
6,280 enlisted men from Korea. In exchange, 506 officers and 7,359 
enlisted men arrived from the States in replacement drafts. A new 
arrival could expect to stay with the division about W l /z months. 

In the late spring of 1952 many of the division's new replace- 
ments were "dental cripples" — Marines requiring dental treatment, 
even emergency care in some cases. 79 General Selden directed that 
contact teams be formed to meet the replacement drafts in Japan. 
During the last leg of the trip to Korea dental personnel screened 
the new combat Marines on shipboard. By the time the division area 
had been reached, the dentists knew what remedial work would be 
required by incoming troops. At the end of the summer the problem 
was well under control. 

Even though the 1st Marine Division in July continued to be 
somewhat in excess of its authorized strength in total personnel, it 
had certain imbalances and was in rather short supply of certain 
ranks and specialists. While the normal tour for most infantry 
officers ranged from 9 to 12 months, an excess of company grade 
officers, particularly lieutenants, had resulted in a reduction of the 
Korean tour for them to just six months. This brief period of duty 
plus an intra-division rotation policy that caused a mass shifting of 
duty assignments every three-to-five months tended to reduce unit 
combat efficiency. On the other hand the change of assignments 
had a favorable effect in that it broadened the experience of indi- 

78 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from PacFIt EvalRpts 
No. 4, Chaps. 9, 10; No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9. 

79 Btunelli Itr. 


Operations in West Korea 

vidual Marines. Beginning in the summer of 1952, however, the 
division modified this policy to reduce its number of intra-division 

Personnel shortages existed in both the artillery and tank MOSs 
(Military Occupational Speciality). Mass rotation of reservist com- 
pany grade artillery officers had necessitated the transfer of infantry 
officers to the 11th Marines for training and reassignment within 
the regiment. During the time when the supply of artillery officers 
was limited, however, the quality of support rendered remained 
high. 80 The other major shortage in the division was that of quali- 
fied crewmen — both drivers and gunners — for the M-46 tanks. 
Neither tank driving nor gunnery for the M-46 was taught in the 
tank crewmen's course conducted at Camp Pendleton, California. 
General Selden requested of Lieutenant General Franklin A. Hart 
(CG, FMFPac) that "tank crewmen be thoroughly trained prior to 
leaving the U.S." 81 

Fundamental to the tank problem was a shortage of the M-46 
itself. At the training facility, Training and Replacement Command, 
Camp Pendleton, M-46 engines had been available for maintenance 
instruction but no tanks for the training of gunners and drivers. 82 
General Hart pointed out this deficiency to the Commandant, Gen- 
eral Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. On 13 August the Commandant 
directed the transfer of five tanks to the training installation from 
the 7th Tank Battalion, 83 also located at Camp Pendleton. At the 
same time General Shepherd ordered an increase in the school quota 
for tank crewmen. The first graduates would not reach the division 
in Korea, however, until the November draft. 

The presence of not fully trained personnel in a combat zone was 
not limited to the division. In the summer and fall of 1952, a large 
number of volunteer reservists, both pilots and enlisted replacements 
with little experience since the end of World War II, joined the 
1st MAW. It had not been possible for the Stateside training and 
tactical squadrons, themselves short of personnel and aircraft, to 
qualify all pilots as combat ready. It fell upon the wing in Korea, 
therefore, to take the needed corrective action. The more experienced 

10 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 4, p. 9-27. 

11 IstMarDiv ComdD, July 52, p. 4. 

'= FMFPac ComdD, Jul 52, App VIII, End (7), Anx (E). 
18 FMFPac ComdD, Aug 52, App I, Enci (35). 

Defending the Line 


1st MAW pilots, after completing their combat missions, flew instruc- 
tional flights to help prepare the rusty fliers. Some reserve pilots, 
away from regular daily flying since 1945, found the adjustment 
too difficult and turned in their wings. MACG-2 operated "Pohang 
U," a training course for forward air controllers. In practically every 
squadron, there were shortages of electronics personnel. Jet squadrons 
found mechanics hard to come by. There were never enough motor 
transport replacements. For unqualified enlisted Marines, squadrons 
operated on-the-job training programs. 

To maintain a reasonable degree of unit proficiency, the wing 
limited the monthly turnover of pilots to 25 percent. Like the divi- 
sion, the wing employed split tours between an officer's primary 
duty and staff work to broaden his experience. In some cases the 
amount of time required by administrative work as compared to a 
pilot's actual flying time reduced his proficiency in the air. In June, 
Task Force 95 reported that the proportionately large number of 
take-off and landing accidents on the carrier Bataan was caused by 
the rapid turnover of pilots and their need for frequent carrier quali- 
fication. 84 

A Marine pilot joining the wing could expect his assignment to 
last for 6 to 9 months. Personnel in a nonflight status had longer 
tours of 10 months to a year. Wing replacements were made on an 
individual basis, although there were plans that by mid- 195 3 a new 
policy of at least partial squadron replacement would be in effect. 
That 1st MAW squadrons were able to operate effectively on an 
individual replacement system was attributable to the peculiarity of 
combat conditions in Korea. Absence of real enemy aerial opposition 
permitted the use of basic, parade-type flight formations and non- 
tactical approaches and attacks. An unusually high-level of experi- 
enced pilots in each of the two wing groups helped in the establish- 
ment of training programs and operational doctrine. The FAF limi- 
tation of four aircraft per flight eliminated the problem of large- 
scale, precombat squadron training as well as the difficulty of con- 
trolling and coordinating a large number of planes in a strike. 

PacFlt EvalKpt No. 4, p. 10-198. 


Operations in West Korea 

Logistical Operations, Summer 1952 65 

Logistical support of the division and wing remained largely un- 
changed through July. Several modifications did take place, how- 
ever, and these were: 

(1) The change of responsibility for logistical support of 
ground-based units in Korea from Commanding General, 2d 
Logistical Command to the Commanding General, Korean Com- 
munication Zone (CG, KComZ). 

(2) The opening of a pipeline system for resupply of aviation 
fuel at K-3, beginning in May. 

(3) The beginning of increased support for airbase mainte- 
nance at those airfields housing Marine squadrons. 

Resupply of common items used by both Marine and Army units 
was still being hampered by the Marines' limited knowledge of the 
Army supply system in effect and by their inability to obtain the 
catalogues, orders, and directives essential for requisitioning. 

Two logistical operations, both of an engineering nature, took 
place between May and July 1952 in western Korea. One was Oper- 
ation TIMBER, undertaken to provide lumber required to complete the 
bunker construction on the JAMESTOWN, WYOMING, and KANSAS 
lines. The division had estimated that three million linear feet of 
4 x 8-inch timbers would be needed. Since lumber in this amount 
was not available through supply channels or standing timber in the 
division sector, Corps assigned the Marines a wooded area 50 miles 
to the east in the U.S. 45th Infantry Division sector. On 12 May a 
reinforced engineer platoon, under Second Lieutenant Roger E. 
Galliher, a truck platoon, and 500 Korean Service Corps (KSC) 
laborers, 86 began the cutting, processing, and hauling of timbers 
which were then trucked to the railhead. Between 500 and 1,000 
logs were cut daily. When the operation ended in July a total of 

85 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: Selden, Div 
Staff Rpl; PacFlt EvalRpts No. 4, Chap. 9, No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv, 1st EngrBn 
ComdDs, Jun-Jul 52. 

su The KSC was a ROK quasi-military organization for logistical support of the 
UNC. Personnel were drafted from those rejected for Army service. Each KSC unit had 
a cadre of ROK officers and enlisted. All types of labor except personal services were 
performed by these Koreans. During its period in western Korea, the 1st Marine Divi- 
sion was supported by the 103d KSC Regiment of 5,222 men. CG, IstMarDiv, Civ Afrs 
and KSC, pp. 8-9. 

Defending the Line 


35,194 sections of timber had been cut. This was still not enough 
lumber to complete the required construction. Eighth Army then 
made up the difference, mostly with 12 x 12-inch timbers 30 feet 
long; these the Marine engineers cut to 4 x 8s for standard bunker 
construction. 87 

Operation Amazon, published by I Corps on 12 June, ordered 
that bridging preparations be made for the approaching summer 
flood season. The previous August at the Honker Bridge, the one 
nearest the railhead, the Imjin had crested some 27 feet above nor- 
mal. One reason for the precautionary efforts taken to insure bridge 
security during the flood season was the potential damage the Chi- 
nese could cause. Since they controlled the upriver area of the Imjin, 
before it entered the division sector, they could introduce floatable 
debris or explosives into the swift running flood waters. Another 
major concern was the logistical problem that would be faced by 
forward MLR units in event the bridges became impassable and the 
enormous strain that would thus be placed on helicopter resupply 

The I Corps directive specified that its divisions maintain a trans- 
port capability that would enable medium tanks to pass safely over 
bridges spanning the major rivers in their I Corps sector. The order 
also called for the removal of debris that could cause damage to 
bridges. Removal of those bridges vulnerable to flood conditions 
and the erection of emergency river spans were also to take place on 
corps order. 

To carry out the I Corps operational order, General Selden put 
the division's own AMAZON plan into effect on 1 July. On this date 
Companies A, B, and D of Lieutenant Colonel Harry D. Clarke's 
1st Engineer Battalion began extensive preparations for debris 
removal from the four bridge sites in the division sector. Even 
before this, Marine engineers and shore party personnel had been 
trained at special schools to handle U.S. Army equipment provided 
for the AMAZON operation. 88 

Beginning 1 June, division engineers began blasting away at objects 

87 Col Harry D. Clarke ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 1 Sep 66. 

88 This included employment of the 60-inch searchlight for night illumination, main- 
tenance of boats for debris removal, and operation of the M-4 ferry. Other preparations 
by the division, of a non-engineer nature, included positioning of 13,000 life-saving 
floatation devices for use by frontline troops should they become shut off from planned 


Operations in West Korea 

that flood waters could loosen and carry into the bridge supports. 
Bridge approaches were improved and their supports strengthened. 
Each company had a detail living at the bridge site for which it was 
responsible. With the advent of heavy rains, these Marines were to 
operate 24-hour boat patrols to keep the river free of debris. The 
engineers were also to maintain a round-the-clock debris watch at 
the four division bridges — Freedom Gate, or the Munsan-ni Railroad 
Bridge in the left regimental sector; Honker and X-Ray in the 
center; and finally, Widgeon, very close to the Commonwealth 

Heavy rains began on 27 July and continued until the 30th. On the 
first day the decking of Widgeon Bridge was completely submerged 
and Honker was removed to prevent its being carried away. Precipi- 
tation increased on 28 July and reached its peak on 29 July when 
3.66 inches of rainfall were recorded. By the 30th, the rains had sub- 
sided but not before the overflowing Imjin had collapsed the X-Ray 
bridge. During the height of the four flood days, engineers fought 
the rains, flooding waters, and floating debris. The major effort took 
place downstream to save the Freedom Gate Bridge. 

Assigned personnel removed debris from the bridge supports, 
guided large, dangerous pieces away with poles, while upriver the 
boat teams blasted still larger sections into manageable chunks that 
would pass between the bridge supports. These engineer efforts, in 
addition to regular repair and maintenance of the large road net, con- 
stituted the major ground activity in the 1st Marine Division sector 
in late July. August would bring more rains and emergency demands 
on the engineers, but the critical ground activity at that time would 
be directed against the Communists in the area around Bunker Hill. 


The Battle of Bunker Hill 

The Participants and the Battlefield — Preliminary Action on 
Siberia — The Attack on Bunker Hill — Consolidating the De- 
fense of Bunker Hill — Company B Returns to Bunker Hill — 
Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill — In Retrospect 

The Participants and the Battlefield 1 

THE torrential rains that had fallen just before the end of July 
continued to affect ground operations into early August. Con- 
tacts between opposing forces were few and brief, and casualties 
remained correspondingly low. On 1 August, General Selden assigned 
the reserve regiment, the 7th Marines, the task of developing the 
secondary defense line, Kansas, at the extreme right of the division 
sector. The 5th Marines, manning this regimental area and originally 
responsible for the construction, had been unable to reach the second 
line because bridging across the Imjin to the rear of the sector was 
washed out. By 3 July the division put a ferry service into operation 
at the site of the inoperable Honker Bridge for the purpose of feed- 
ing ammunition to combat units north of the Imjin. The critical 
resupply problem began to ease the next day when the waters over- 
flowing the Widgeon Bridge further upstream receded sufficiently 
to permit restoration of normal vehicular crossings there. 

Traffic in the air had, quite naturally, been less affected by the 
heavy rains and by the flooded, mucky terrain that was slowing 
ground movement throughout the entire division area. Flight oper- 
ations during the first week of August produced a daily sortie rate 

'Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt 
No. 5, Chap. 8; IstMarDiv ComdDs, Jul-Aug 52; IstMar, 2/1, 3/1 ComdDs, Aug 52; 
1st MAW ComdD, Aug 52. 



Opetations in West Korea 

that would approximate the monthly average. In fact, the month of 
August was to become the record one for 1st MAW^ attack and 
fighter pilots during 1952, with a total of 5,869 sorties flown. 

While the air people in August were maintaining a good weather 
pace against the enemy following the July downpours, the Commu- 
nist ground troops apparently found the going too difficult to mount 
any sustained attack. The enemy merely continued his active defense, 
with an average of two contacts daily, while busily engaged in 
advancing his OPLR by creeping tactics. Even the usually assiduous 
Chinese artillery was strangely quiet. With respect to the enemy's 
excellent artillery capability, the 1st Marine Division in July learned 
that the Chinese had introduced a 132mm Russian rocket in their 
combat operations. The presence of this truck-mounted launcher, 
the Katusha, which could fire 16 rockets simultaneously, was indi- 
cated by a POW who had been informed by "his platoon leader that 
there were two Katusha regiments in the CCF." 2 In addition to this 
new enemy weapon, the Marine division reported the same month 
that positive sightings had been made of self-propelled guns em- 
placed well forward, and that there was an "indication that these 
guns were being used to fire direct fire missions from frontline 
revetments." 3 

Communist forward positions were gradually encroaching on 
Jamestown. Since April 1952 the division had noted every month 
that the enemy was continuing to extend his trenches in the direc- 
tion of the Marine MLR. The Chinese technique was to occupy key, 
high terrain at night, prepare the ground during darkness by dig- 
ging trenches and constructing bunkers, and then vacate the area 
before daybreak. After nightly repetitions of this process had pro- 
duced a tenable position, the enemy moved in and occupied it. By 
means of these creeping tactics, the Chinese hoped to acquire the 
dominating terrain necessary for controlling access to Seoul. The ulti- 
mate goal of the Communist forces was believed to be the 750-foot- 
high Paekhak Hill, 4 the Marine high ground position also known 
as Hill 229, just over a mile east of the road leading to Panmunjom 
and Kaesong. 

2 IstMarDiv ComdD, Jul 52, p. 2. 

3 Ibid., p. 1. 

4 CG, I Corps msg to CG, IstMarDiv, dtd 18 Jun 52, in IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52. 
App. I, p. 5. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


During the four months that the 1st Marine Division's mission had 
been to conduct an aggressive defense of the eusak left flank, 
Marines had become familiar with a number of Chinese small unit 
infantry tactics. Shortly after assignment of the division to western 
Korea, General Twining, the ADC, had observed that the Chinese 
first made a diversionary frontal assault while the main force maneu- 
vered around UNC defenders to attack from the rear. Almost invari- 
ably the Chinese employed this envelopment technique. Occasionally 
the enemy also used more passive measures, such as attempting to 
demoralize Marines in the front lines and subvert their allegiance 
by English language propaganda broadcasts. These attempts repre- 
sented wasted effort. Not one Marine was swayed. 

In some cases the Chinese were imaginative in changing their tac- 
tics or improvising new ones. This tendency had been noted as early 
as May by a 5th Marines battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel 
Nihart, after 1/5 had engaged the enemy in a limited objective 

. . . when friendlies marked targets with WP [white phosphorus], the 
enemy would immediately drop rounds of WP between the target and 
friendly troops to conceal the target and to confuse friendly FOs [artillery 
forward observers]; the enemy tried very hard to take prisoners (rather 
than shoot a friendly, they would often attempt to knock him out with a 
concussion type grenade) ; counterattacks were made in waves of four to 
seven men deployed in a formation somewhat similar to the Marine Corps 
wedge; snipers were deployed in holes that were mutually supporting; 
concerted efforts were made to knock out automatic weapons; . . . for 
close-in fighting, the enemy used PPSH [Soviet-made 7.62mm submachine 
gun] guns and grenades rather than bayonets; the enemy attacked behind 
well coordinated mortar fire; some enemy snipers were observed to have 
bushes tied to their backs. . . . 5 

On occasion 1st Division Marines found evidence that the enemy 
had infiltrated their lines. It appeared the most likely spot for line- 
crossers to make their way into the Marine rear area was from the 
far bank of the Imjin between the Sachon and Han Rivers where the 
enemy MLR was only a short distance from the sector held by the 
1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion. Two enemy agents "armed with 
pistols of German manufacture, six hand grenades, and one set of 
field glasses" had been apprehended here by a Marine reconnais- 

6 1/5 ComdD, May 52, p. 12. 

HqBn, IstMarDiv ComdD, May 52, p. 27. 


Operations in West Korea 

sance company patrol. The prisoners had stated they were "part of a 
force of one thousand men who were infiltrating to form a guerrilla 
force somewhere in South Korea." 7 Six days later, after a brief fire 
fight between a small group of Chinese and a Marine outpost in the 
center of the division sector, the defenders discovered that two of the 
three enemy dead wore under their own clothing various articles of 
Marine uniforms. Neither of the Chinese had identification or any 
papers whatsoever. It was believed that both were enemy agents and 
that the attack on the outpost was a diversion "for the express pur- 
pose of detracting attention from infiltrators." 8 

Even though enemy tactics and attempts to penetrate Marine posi- 
tions demonstrated a good deal of soldierly skills, his conduct of 
defensive operations was nothing short of masterful. This was espe- 
cially true of Chinese construction of underground earthworks. It 
appeared that the Chinese had no single pattern for this type of field 
fortification. Like the Japanese in World War II, the Chinese Com- 
munists were experts in organizing the ground thoroughly and in 
utilizing a seemingly inexhaustible supply of manpower to hollow 
out tunnels, air-raid shelters, living quarters, storage spaces, and 
mess halls. Americans described the Chinese as industrious diggers, 
who excavated quickly and deeply for protection against UN bom- 
bardments. From numerous reports of ground clashes in the 1st 
Marine Division sector and from observations made by Marine pilots, 
it became known that the enemy was quick to seek cover whenever 
he was exposed to sustained artillery bombardment or air attack. 

What was not known, however, was the extent of these subter- 
ranean shelters. One Chinese account, allegedly written by a recon- 
naissance staff officer named Li Yo-Yang, described the protection of 
a CCF shelter to a recently captured UN prisoner as they were under 
Allied artillery bombardment. While shells exploded all around 
the position the enemy boasted: "There's no danger of being killed 
on a position fortified by the Chinese People's Volunteers . . . Don't 

7 ibid. 

8 IstMarDiv ComdD, Jun 52, p. 5. 

"The Chinese attack by 'shovel' proved effective and difficult to combat. They bur- 
rowed forward almost continuously, even under direct observation. Every foot of advance 
provided added opportunity to attack Marine COPs with greater impunity. While this 
activity possibly provided Marines with target practice in both small arms and mortars, 
these CCF working parties in a narrow trench 7 to 10-feet deep probably took very 
few casualties." Col William R. Watson, Jr. ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 
dtd 18 July 67. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


you know it's impossible for your shells to penetrate our air-raid 
shelters?" 10 An American report on enemy field fortifications esti- 
mated that the amount of earth cover in Chinese air-raid shelters 
was as high as 20 feet, and in frontline defensive positions, up to 
33 feet. 11 

Marine defensive installations carved out of the ground were not 
so extensive as those of the enemy opposing JAMESTOWN. "In spite 
of orders, instructions, and inspections many bunkers were only half 
dug in, then built up above the ground with sandbags," observed 
one Marine battalion commander. 12 Back in April, just after the 
Marine division had settled in the west, its 1st Engineer Battalion, 
using U.S. Army drawings, had published bunker construction plans. 
Express instructions to frontline units were to "construct bunkers to 
provide simultaneously living and fighting space. Overhead cover 
on all bunkers will be such as to withstand direct hit from 105mm 
and to allow friendly VT fire over position." 13 

Some officers felt it was, perhaps, the work-during-light, patrol-at- 
night routine that resulted in the shallow draft Marine bunkers. 
Others suggested that the relatively limited defensive training 
received by the more offensive-minded Marines created a natural 
apathy to digging elaborate fighting positions. 

It took a hole 12 feet square and 7 feet deep to house the Army, 
Lincoln-logs-type bunker the Marines first used in the spring of 
1952. The fortification, using tree trunks up to eight inches in diam- 
eter, had a cover of seven to eight feet. This consisted of four feet 
of logs, and three-to-four more feet of rocks, sandbags, and earth 
fill. By the summer of 1952, the division developed its own style 
of bunker, a prefabricated timber structure designed to fit into a hole 
eight feet square and somewhat less than seven feet deep. This size 
fortification could accommodate a .50 caliber machine gun, crew 
members, or several riflemen. Provision was also made for the inclu- 
sion of a sleeping shelf in the rear of the bunker. Its construction 
required no saws, hammers, or nails, only shovels to excavate. The 

10 A Volunteer Soldier's Day: Recollections by Men of the Chinese People's Vol- 
unteers in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (Peking: Foreign Lan- 
guages Press, 1961), p. 193, hereafter CPV, Recollections. 

11 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 8-90. „ 

12 LtCoi Roy J. Batterton, Jr., "Random Notes on Korea," Marine Corps Gazette, 
v. 39, no. 11 (Nov 55), p. 29, hereafter Batterton, Korea Notes. 

13 CO 5thMar msg to 5thMar units, dtd 20 Apr 52, in 5thMar ComdD, Apr 52, #2, 
App. II, p. 6. 


Operations in West Korea 

major drawback to erection of the prefab was the difficulty in man- 
handling the heavy roofing timbers, 11 feet long, 12 inches wide, 
and 4 inches thick. On top of this was placed a two-foot layer of 
sandbags, tarpaper covering, and a four feet high layer of earth 
that completed the structure and partly camouflaged it. 

Battlefield construction was carried out by the infantry regiments 
to the limit of unit capabilities. The division engineers, one com- 
pany per frontline regiment, augmented at times by shore party 
units, supplied the technical know-how and engineering materials 
and equipment. These combat support troops processed the lumber 
for bunker construction and built fortifications for forward medical 
treatment and one bunker for observation of battle action by civilian 
and military dignitaries, irreverently called VIPs (Very Important 
Persons), who frequently visited the division. Engineers also erected 
some of the barbed wire barriers in the forward areas and, when 
necessary, cleared firing lanes for weapons housed in bunkers. 

The processing of timbers for easier and faster bunker-construction 
had begun on 28 July, but this was hardly in time for the most diffi- 
cult fighting the division had faced thus far in western Korea. Given 
the name Bunker Hill, 14 this battle would take place in the center 
sector of the division line manned since 27 July by Colonel Walter 
F. Layer's 1st Marines. 15 On that date Lieutenant Colonel Armitage's 
battalion, 3/1, took over from the 3d Battalion, 7th Marines on the 
left, and 2/1 (Lieutenant Colonel Roy J. Batterton, Jr.) relieved the 
2d Battalion of the 7th Marines on the right. 18 

Across No-Man's-Land, units of two Chinese divisions faced the 
3,603 men of the 1st Marines. From west to east opposite the Marine 
regiment's frontline battalions were elements of the 580th Regiment, 
194th Division, 65th CCF Army and of both the 352d and 354th 
Regiments, 118th Division, 40th CCF Army. The 352d Regiment held 
most of the area on which the battle would be fought. 17 Enemy com- 
bat efficiency was rated as excellent and his forward units were well- 
supplied. The Chinese conducted an active defense, using limited 

14 Since bunkers were in everyone's mind and frontline units were heavily involved 
in the bunker-construction program, it is felt likely "someone in G-2 arbitrarily as- 
signed the name." Col Gerald T. Armitage ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 
6 July 67, hereafter Armitage ltr. 

15 Two days earlier Colonel Layer had taken over the command from Colonel Flournoy. 
10 Lieutenant Colonels Gerald F. Russell and Anthony Caputo, respectively, com- 
manded 3/7 and 2/7 at this time. 

17 IstMarDiv PIR 657, dtd 13 Aug 52. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


objective attacks, numerous small-size probes, and creeping tactics 
to extend their OPLR line. Communist soldiers offered well-coordi- 
nated and tenacious resistance to Marine patrols, raids, and attacks. 
Within enemy lines a 775-foot elevation, known as Taedok-san, was 
situated directly north of the Marine division center and commanded 
the entire Bunker Hill area. 

On Jamestown, the dominating height was Hill 201, 660 feet 
high 18 and immediately to the rear of the MLR in the left battalion 
sector. Southwest of this elevation was the Marine stronghold, Hill 
229, just 23 feet lower than Taedok, and believed by the Marines to 
have been the objective of the August battle. Directly north of Hill 
201 was Hill 122, adjacent to the enemy OPLR, and called Bunker 
Hill by the Marines. It was shortly to become the scene of bitter fight- 
ing. The crest of Hill 122 was about -o 50 yards long. At a distance 
of about 700 yards, it generally paralleled the northeast-southwest 
direction of Jamestown in the left of the 2/1 sector and adjoining 
3/1 sector. 

Southwest of Bunker and a little more than 200 yards from the 
Marine MLR was Hill 124. This Hill 124-122 axis, for tactical pur- 
poses, was known as the Bunker Ridge. The ridgeline, roughly 
"cashew" in shape almost anchored back into the MLR on the 
forward slopes of Hill 229. To the northeast of Bunker Hill and sep- 
arated from it by a wide saddle 19 was another enemy position, Hill 
120. (See Map 9, for outposts and key hill positions in the 1st Marines 
center regimental area in early August.) 

Approximately one mile east of Hill 124 was Hill 56A, or Samoa, 
the right flank limit of the immediate battlefield. It guarded the 
best avenue of approach into the Bunker Hill area, the Changdan 
Road. Another Marine position west of Samoa was Hill 58A, or 
Siberia, a sentinel overlooking a long draw running down the east 
sides of Hills 122 and 120. Both Samoa and Siberia were outposted 
by squads. Another 1st Marines squad occupied Hill 52, on the other 
side of Changdan Road and not quite a half-mile east of Samoa. The 
entire battlefield was cut up by numerous gullies and draws, most 
of which paralleled Bunker Hill. 

18 Frequently cartographers use elevations for names of hills. Heights on the Korean 
maps are in meters, and many of these hills derive their name (i.e., number) from their 
elevation. For changing meters to feet, the conversion factor 3.28 is used. 

19 A saddle, the low point in the crest line of a ridge, is much in appearance like 
the side view of a riding saddle. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


Preliminary Action on Siberia 20 

The first round in the battle of Bunker Hill began as the fight for 
Siberia, Hill 58A. Just slightly more than a quarter of a mile from 
jamestown, this squad-size outpost, the most western in the right 
battalion sector, had been occupied in June when the division moved 
its MLR forward. Since Siberia was located halfway between the 
Marine MLR and the Communist OPLR, the Marine seizure of 
Siberia prevented the Chinese from holding terrain suitable for em- 
ploying 60mm mortars against Marine frontline troops. 21 Strong 
enemy outposts on Hills 120 to the north and 110 to the northeast 
constantly threatened the squad on 58A. From these two forward 
positions, Chinese troops early on 9 August 1952 streamed down to 
Siberia, launching in the process the Bunker Hill battle. 

Just before 0100 an estimated four enemy squads fell upon Hill 
58A, outposted by Company E Marines. Using assorted infantry 
weapons, the raiding party forced the outnumbered Siberia occupants 
to withdraw. By 0145 the outpost Marines returned to the MLR. At 
this time the JAMESTOWN sector south of the outpost, also held by 
Captain Jesse F. Thorpe's Company E, was under attack by approx- 
mately 50 Chinese. 

After breaking up the enemy assault by well placed friendly mor- 
tar fire, the Marines enjoyed a brief respite from Chinese pressure 
and formulated plans to recapture Siberia. It was decided that a 
reinforced Company E platoon would counterattack to regain the 
outpost. At 0355, the 11th Marines fired a five-minute preparation 
against the objective. On schedule, the platoon crossed jamestown 
at 0400 and in the darkness headed towards the outpost. Advancing 
carefully to avoid detection as long as possible, the Marines reached 
the area near the base of the hill by 0525. Heavy enemy artillery 
and mortar fire again forced the Marines to withdraw, and the pla- 
toon returned to its company CP at 0545. So far, the 58A action 
had resulted in the wounding of 32 Marines and the killing of 

It became evident that more preparation, by Marine air and artil- 

20 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 9-11 Aug 52; IstMar, 1/1, 2/1, 3/1 ComdDs, 
Aug 52. 

21 IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52, App. VII, p. 1. 


Operations in West Korea 

lery, would be required for the recapture of Siberia. At 0650, four 
Marine F9F jet fighters worked the hill over with napalm and 500- 
pound bombs. Three hours later, a flight of Air Force F-80 "Shooting 
Star" jets dropped eight 1,000-pound bombs on the same target. 
With the aerial attack complete, Marine artillery opened fire. Five 
minutes later another Marine reinforced platoon launched a second 
ground attack. This was made by a unit from Company A (Captain 
Robert W. Judson) of the regimental reserve battalion, supported 
by a Company E platoon. Again the Marines advanced to the open 
sector south of the hill before the enemy reacted. As before, the 
Chinese response was a devastating barrage from their supporting 
weapons. The stubborn Marine assault against Siberia brought down 
the full weight of Chinese firepower — rifle, machine gun, and hand 
grenades — but the attack force would not be beaten off. At 1103 
the Siberia hill again belonged to the Marines. Quickly the Company 
A platoon began to organize a defense to repulse the Chinese 
counterattack, which was certain to come. 

In anticipation of a prompt and violent retaliation by the Chinese, 
and to help the speedily improvised defense efforts, the 2/1 battalion 
commander, Lieutenant Colonel Batterton, had sent forward the 
supporting platoon from Company E. This reinforcing unit reached 
Siberia within seven minutes after the Marine attackers had gained 
possession of the objective. The new arrivals scarcely had time to 
dig in before a hail of mortar and artillery shells forced all the 
Marines to seek cover in a defiladed position on the southern side 
of the slope. From here, the 2/1 force directed counter mortar and 
artillery fire onto the top and far side of Siberia and unleashed their 
own assault weapons against the Chinese soldiers pressing for pos- 
session of Siberia. By midafternoon, with heavy enemy counterfire 
on the position and their casualties reaching nearly 75 percent, the 
Marines were forced to withdraw and return to their own lines. 
The hill had changed hands twice and the enemy had employed 
5,000 rounds of artillery in the contested ownership. 

Badly mauled by two actions against Hill 58A, Company E came 
off the lines to reorganize, exchanging positions with Company A, 
of Lieutenant Colonel Louis N. King's 1st Battalion. About this 
time Company C, less one platoon, had moved from the 1/1 rear 
area forward to an assembly point behind 2/1 in preparation for a 
night counterattack to retake the now battle-scarred outpost. With- 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


out the customary artillery preparation, the attacking force at 2245 
crossed the MLR at a point directly south of the former outpost 
Samoa, which had been abandoned earlier when Siberia fell. Work- 
ing their way northwest towards Siberia, the Company C Marines, 
commanded by Captain Casimir C. Ksycewski, cautiously approached 
the assault line. Reaching it at 0105 on 10 August the force deployed 
immediately and rushed the objective. 

At about this time the Chinese defenders opened fire but could 
not halt the assaulting Marines. The struggle to regain the Siberia 
objective was fierce; some of the Chinese refused to yield and fought 
to their death. Most, however, held their defense positions only briefly 
before retiring to the refuge offered by the reverse slope of the hill. 
Gaining the crest of Hill 58A at 0116, the Company C commander 
ordered a platoon to the other side of the objective to dispatch 
remaining elements of the enemy force. The resulting fire fight 
lasted nearly four hours. At daybreak, however, the enemy, in esti- 
mated company strength, strenuously renewed his counterfire and, 
for a third time, forced the 1st Marines to retire from the disputed 
hill and return to the main line. 

Later that day, at the regimental CP, Colonel Layer called a staff 
conference to decide on the best course of action. Successive Marine 
withdrawals had been caused by the intense enemy shelling. The key 
to its effectiveness was the observation provided the Chinese from 
Hills 122 and 110. Heavy enemy fire had also caused most of the 
casualties, 17 killed and 243 wounded, in 1st Marine ranks. It was 
decided to shift the battle area to better restrict this enemy capability 
not only to observe Marine troop movements but also to call down 
accurate fire on friendly attacking units. Bunker Hill, an enemy out- 
post west of Siberia, was selected. In the eyes of 1st Marines tacti- 
cians, possession of Hill 122 instead of Hill 58A presented three 
major advantages: 

Hill 122 offered excellent observation into the rear of enemy 

Possession of Hill 122 would greatly strengthen the MLR in the 
regimental sector, effectively neutralize Siberia, provide domin- 
ating terrain that was more defensible than 58 A; and 

Bunker offered an excellent opportunity for an attack employing 
the element of surprise against the enemy. 


Operations in West Korea 

To help preserve this tactical surprise, the plan for the Bunker Hill 
attack included a diversionary attack against Siberia. Making this 
secondary effort would be a reinforced rifle platoon and a composite 
unit of gun and flame tanks. For the main attack, Lieutenant Colonel 
Batterton's 2d Battalion would employ a reinforced rifle company 
with supporting artillery and armor, if needed. The operation was 
to be conducted at night, to further ensure the opportunity for tacti- 
cal surprise. For the same reason, the attack was not to be preceded 
by artillery preparation on either objective. To the right of the 1st 
Marines, however, Colonel Culhane's 5th Marines would support 
the diversion by artillery and tank fire placed on enemy strongpoints 
in the Ungok area, about IV4 miles northeast of Siberia. During 
daylight, air, artillery, and tanks attacked targets on both 122 and 
58 A. Priority of effort in the 1st Marines area went to units prepar- 
ing for the Siberia-Bunker offensive. 

The Attack on Bunker Hill 22 

At dusk on 11 August, 1,000 yards behind the MLR in the western 
sector of the 2/1 line, the eight Company C tanks that were to 
provide much of the diversionary effort at Hill 58A moved out of 
their assembly area. Leading the column east of the MSR, Changdan 
Road, were four M-46 mediums, mounting 90mm guns. They were 
followed by an equal number of flame vehicles. Each M-46 was 
specially equipped with an 18-inch fighting light, actually a search- 
light with a shutter over the lens, to be used for battlefield illumina- 
tion. The flame vehicles, World War II M4A3E8 mediums, mounted 
a 105mm howitzer in addition to the flame tube. As the tanks 
reached the Changdan Road, they turned north, crossed the MLR, 
and proceeded to preselected positions. (See Map 10.) 

When the M-46 gun tanks were in position to fire on Siberia and 
its flanks, their powerful 90s opened up on the objective. At this 
time, 2110, the first section of flames (two tanks) made its way 

22 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: Encl (1) to 
CG, FMFPac ltr 0762/161 over A9 to CMC, dtd 25 Nov 52, Subj: "Summary of 
IstMarDiv Sit from 20 July-20 Oct 52," hereafter FMFPac, IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 
52; IstMarDiv, lstMar, 2/1, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

along the stream bed between the MLR and Hill 56A (Samoa). 
Lighting their way with very short bursts of flame, the two tanks 
advanced in this manner to the base of Hill 58A. There the vehicles 
paused momentarily, then began to move up the near slope, using 
longer spurts of flame to sear the ground and sparse vegetation to 
the crest of the position. The gun tanks, in the meantime, had shifted 
their fire from Siberia northeast to neutralize Hill 110. When the 
flame vehicles reached the top of Siberia, they lumbered down the 
far slope, firing then in shorter bursts and sweeping the area with 
machine guns to discourage any enemy infantry interference. 

With some fuel reserved to light their way on the return trip, 
the flame section reversed its course from the far side of the objec- 
tive, mounted the crest, and clanked back to the Changdan Road. 
When the first section had returned, the second departed, completing 
its mission in much the same manner. Tank personnel of both groups 
observed that the enemy artillery and mortar fire was medium to 
heavy on Siberia. Some rifle fire was also received. Gun tanks, firing 
from Changdan Road east of Siberia, experienced less fire from the 

Although the flame vehicles had completed their mission and were 
on their way home, the M-46s remained on position in support of 
the 3d Platoon, Company D which, at 2230, was advancing from 
the MLR to complete the infantry part of the diversion. Staying out 
of the low ground that the tanks had used, the platoon swept over 
Hill 56A at 2255 and immediately struck out for the further objec- 
tive, Hill 58A. Gun tanks firing their 90s on the Chinese OPLR on 
Hill 110 and on Siberia illuminated the target area with their fight- 
ing lights, the shutter of which the tankers flicked open and closed 
during each five-second interval that the light remained on. 

Less than an hour after crossing jamestown, the platoon from 
Captain George W. Campbell's Company D reported the capture 
of Siberia. The enemy quickly made his presence felt at the objective; 
a half hour before midnight, he assaulted the hill in reinforced 
platoon strength. Ten minutes later the Chinese withdrew and the 
Company D Marines, in accordance with their battle plan, did 
likewise. At about the same time the 5th Marines, having completed 
its part in the diversion, also secured from the operation. 

Ten minutes after the diversionary infantry had cleared Samoa 
while enroute to Siberia, the main attack force, Company B, which 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


had come under operational control of 2/1 at 1800, crossed the 
MLR, the line of departure. Moving at a fast pace to preserve the 
element of anticipated surprise, the attack force, commanded by 
Captain Sereno S. Scranton, Jr., soon deployed two squads of the 
lead platoon against the near side of the hill. By 2318 on 11 August 
the squads were moving up Bunker Hill and, 10 minutes later, one 
platoon had gained the top of the objective and one was at the base 
of the hill, both moving northward along the forward slope. As the 
advancing units neared the end of their sweep forward, they began 
to come under small amounts of rifle fire from the front and left 
flank of the position. 23 The Company B platoons continued to ad- 
vance, returning well-placed small arms fire. 

Soon the intensity of Chinese small arms fire increased; at the 
same time enemy mortars and artillery opened up on the company. 
Marines attempting to assault the top of Hill 122 also came under 
a hail of hand grenades hurled by the staunch Chinese defenders. 
After a brief but vicious fight at point-blank range, the Chinese 
gave ground on the eastern side, heading uphill. Several Marines 
pursued the fleeing enemy to the summit, then joined the rest of the 
assault units of Company B in organizing a defense. By 0300, 12 
August the battle had quieted down and for a short while all firing 
ceased. Then, as the Marines began to dig in, a bypassed pocket of 
enemy resistance came to life. Two fire teams in the 1st Platoon took 
these Chinese Communists under fire. 

Even as the fighting continued, Marines and KSC personnel 
were hauling fortification materials towards Bunker to consolidate 
the precarious foothold. For a while, enemy mortars unleashed a 
heavy fire against the newly won position, but by 0230 Company B 
was able to report that enemy shelling had stopped and that the 
objective was in friendly hands. A new fire fight broke out at 0345 
between a small force of enemy soldiers occupying a draw forward 
of Bunker Hill and Marines nearby. The exchange of fire continued 
for nearly two hours, but short of harassing the Marines on Bunker 
Hill the enemy did not launch a counterattack. Dawn on 12 August 

23 Recalling the Marine seizure of Bunker, the G-3, IstMarDiv at that time expressed 
the view that "taking these places was easy but holding them under heavy Chinese 
artillery and mortar fire was extremely costly. Our counterbattery fire was ineffective 
because we were limited to from one to eight rounds per tube per day, depending on 
the weapon, by Army order, because of an ammunition shortage." Col Russell E. Hon- 
sowetz MS comments, dtd 15 Jun 67, hereafter Honsowetz Itr II. 


Operations in West Korea 

revealed that thus far in the Bunker Hill fighting 1 Marine of Com- 
pany B had been killed and 22 were wounded. The earlier diver- 
sionary attack on Siberia had resulted in only one Marine casualty, 
the wounding of the platoon commander, Second Lieutenant James 
W. Dion. 

Personnel losses were kept to a minimum by the well-organized 
medical support and the efficient service of medical and evacuation 
personnel. A forward aid station was established in the vicinity of 
the Company E CP. Casualties that were not ambulatory arrived 
at this two-bunker installation usually by hand litter, other wounded 
men were transported in armored personnel carriers, U.S. Army 
tracked vehicles similar in appearance to the Marine LVT, that had 
accompanied the diversionary unit and were part of the Panmunjom 
rescue force stationed in the area of COP 2 on the 3/1 left flank. 
Wounded Marines were examined immediately. Minor injury cases 
were treated and discharged; more seriously injured personnel were 
given emergency treatment and evacuated. Movement to the rear 
was accomplished by ambulance jeeps. Helicopters, landing only 
30 yards from the station, flew out the critically wounded. A sand- 
bag-protected squad tent was used to house casualties waiting to be 
examined. This emergency aid station closed down on 13 August, 
when action in the right battalion sector diminished. 

Even though the remainder of the morning of 12 August was 
practically free of any retaliatory attempts by the Chinese against 
Bunker Hill, the Marines occupying the new position were not 
idle, for they anticipated an immediate and severe reaction for cap- 
turing the hill. Quickly, but methodically, the company dug in. At 
noon, regiment passed to 3/1 24 the responsibility for Bunker Hill 
and operational control of Company B. Consolidation of Hill 122 
continued until about 1500, when the Marines were forced to put 
down their entrenching tools and grab their rifles instead. The 
Chinese had suddenly launched an intense mortar and artillery attack 
against the hill. Defending Marines expected to see enemy soldiers 
start up the western slopes at any minute. 

Actually, more than an hour elapsed before the Communists 
initiated their first main ground attack to regain Bunker. By that 

- 4 Initially the diversionary attack against Siberia and subsequent assault against 
Bunker had been made by Marines of 2/1 since Siberia was in the 2/1 sector. On 12 
August operational control was transferred to 3/ 1 as the fighting continued at Bunker, 
in the area of responsibility of the left battalion sector. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


time, heavy casualties from the continued shelling had forced Com- 
pany B to pull back from the ridge and take up positions on the 
reverse (eastern) slope of Bunker Hill. At this point, with reduced 
Company B forces and with no radio communication between Cap- 
tain Scranton's unit and 3/1, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage sent 
1/3/1, 25 under Captain Howard J. Connolly, forward from the 
MLR. Shortly before 1600, a force of more than 350 Chinese lunged 
out of the low ground of Hill 123, west of Bunker, to attack defen- 
sive positions along the ridge between Hills 124-122. Striking in 
rapid succession first the west side and then the northern end of the 
Company B position to find a weak spot in the defense, the enemy 
counterattack finally concentrated on the southwestern part of the 

An intense exchange of fire raged here until 1715, when the 
defending fire of Company B plus the added weight of the Company 
I reinforcements combined to stall the enemy advance. Having failed 
to gain their objective, the Communists abruptly broke off their 
artillery and mortar fire and ordered their infantry to withdraw. 
They pulled back only to the far side of the hill, however. By 1740 
the enemy was occupying his new post on the northern slope, while 
the Marines continued to hold their positions on the reverse slope of 
Bunker Ridge. Enemy supporting fires had lifted and a lull ensued 
in the fighting. 

Consolidating the Defense of Bunker Hill 20 

Even before the Chinese had made their coordinated attack against 
Hill 122 in the midafternoon of the 12th, the 1st Marines had 
implemented a plan of action to assure that the critical position 
would remain in Marine hands. In addition to the movement of 
Company I/3/l to reinforce Bunker Hill and of Company 1/3/7 as 
its relief on the MLR, a precautionary displacement was also made 
of the 3/1 reconnaissance platoon to Hill 124 to tie in that terrain 

25 From the division reserve, Captain Anthony J. Skotnicki's company, 1/3/7, was en 
route to take over the 1/3/1 sector. As an interim measure, >Captain Byron J. Melan- 
con's Company H extended its MLR positions to the right to cover the Company I area. 

20 Unless otherwise noted, the material for this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 12-13 Aug 52; IstMar, l/l, 3/1 ComdDs, 
Aug 52. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


feature with both Bunker and Jamestown and thus consolidate 
the defense north of the MLR and west of Bunker. (See Map 11.) 

Other activities behind the line aimed at making the Marine 
position on the newly seized hill more tenable. As one step in this 
direction, General Selden shifted most of his reserve into the zone 
of action. Before the end of the day remaining units of 3/7 were 
placed under operational control of 3/1, and 2/7 was attached to 
Colonel Layer's reserve. The 7th Marines was directed to place its 
4.2-inch mortars on call to the 1st Marines. Priority of artillery 
support went to the Bunker Hill regiment. Within the 1st Marines, 
the regimental commander moved two provisional platoons (118 
Marines) of the reserve 1st Battalion to the 3d Battalion sector. All 
81mm mortars in l/l were sent to the left battalion. The fire plan 
also called for employment of all the 60mm mortars that could bear 
on the crest of 124-122, with 81mm and artillery box-me-in barrage 
fires on the ridge and flanks. 

Machine guns from the MLR were assigned missions on the crest 
of Bunker Ridge and 4.5-inch ripples were planned on the deep 
enemy approaches. Gun and flame tanks were to protect the right 
flank of Hill 122 where the steep draw between Bunker and the MLR 
offered the most dangerous approach into Bunker Hill. Supplies and 
fortification materials, meanwhile, were being carried forward and 
casualties taken to the rear by the relief party. Although 3/1 initially 
reported that the Bunker Hill fighting had resulted in 58 killed or 
wounded Marines, a later battalion count showed this number to be 
34—5 killed and 29 wounded. 

Most of the casualties had been caused by hostile shelling. 
Although the Hill 122 reverse slope afforded some cover from the 
Chinese artillery and mortars, the positions on the crest did not offer 
any protection, so Marines continued their trenchworks and other 
defensive preparations at a rapid pace and supporting fires were 
registered by 1900. The approach of night was certain to bring 
renewed Communist attempts to capture Bunker Hill. 

At 2000, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage reported to division that 
his force on Hill 122 occupied the entire reverse slope and that the 
Marine of 1/3/1 and B/l/1 were digging in and consolidating 
their scant defenses. Enemy shells were still falling on both Bunker 
and Hill 124. Company commanders forward of the MLR estimated 
that as many as 400 Chinese occupied the ridge on the other side 


Operations in West Korea 

of the slope from the Marines. Since the crest of the long Hill 124- 
122 ridgeline was fairly level, the gentle incline of the Bunker rear 
slope permitted defending Marine units excellent fields of fire to the 
ridge crest, a major consideration in the 3/1 battalion commander's 
decision to adopt a rear slope defense. Moreover, the top of the 
ridge could be swept with direct fire from the MLR as well as sup- 
porting weapons from the two nearest companies on JAMESTOWN. 
Opposing Marine and Chinese forces were thus lined up for a con- 
tinuation of the battle for Bunker Hill. 

It appeared that the Chinese wished to attempt a diversionary 
tactic of their own. To draw attention away from Hill 122 they 
engaged a Marine outpost east of Bunker and a KMC ambush far 
to the left before attacking Bunker again. In the KMC sector, 
shortly after 2300, an enemy infantry platoon walked into a trap 
near the eastern edge of the Sachon and 500 yards south of the 
Munsan-ni-Kaesong rail line. The brief fire fight lasted only 10 
minutes before the Chinese broke contact. 

Perhaps the ambush was incidental to the forthcoming attack 
against the Bunker complex, but this same reasoning cannot be 
applied to the Communist-inspired action which broke out shortly 
at Hill 48A, Stromboli, another friendly outpost far to the east of 
Hill 122. Near the right limiting point of Colonel Layer's 1st 
Marines and the 5th Marines boundary, Stromboli was another 
Marine fire-team-by-day, squad-by-night position. It occupied a small 
rise 250 yards forward of the MLR and commanded the immediate 
sector in all directions. The entire MLR in the regimental right was 
dominated by the enemy-held Hill 104, a half-mile north of 48A. 

Communist infantry opened the attack without benefit of any 
supporting arms preparation and rushed to seize Hill 48A early on 
the morning of 13 August, a few minutes after midnight. Defend- 
ing Marines immediately responded with small arms and automatic 
weapons fire. By the time the outpost commander had informed 
battalion of the attack by radio, the far right sector of the 1st 
Marines line, held by Captain Clarence G. Moody, Jr.'s Company 
F, had also come under attack. Firing rifles and submachine guns and 
hurling hand grenades as they assaulted the main position, the 
Chinese attempted to penetrate the jamestown defenses. In spite 
of the enemy's concerted efforts, the Marine line remained staunch. 

At Stromboli, the Communists met with no greater success, 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


although they did cause enough casualties to warrant the dispatch 
of a Company F reinforcing squad. When this unit left the MLR, 
at 0106 on 13 August, the Marine line was still under a heavy 
attack not only from Chinese infantry but from hostile artillery and 
mortars as well. Out at Hill 48A the outpost remained in com- 
parative quiet until the approach of the reinforcing party. As the 
Company F squad neared the base of the hill, Chinese infantry that 
earlier had been assaulting the Marine MLR turned their rifle and 
machine gun fire from positions on the Jamestown side of the 
outpost. A heavy rain of devastating mortar fire engulfed the rein- 
forcing Marines. On order, they broke off the approach march and 
returned to the company rear area. 

On the main line, meanwhile, Company F positions were still 
being bombarded by Chinese artillery and assaulted by their infantry. 
Casualties along the entire line forced Lieutenant Colonel Batterton 
to order his 1st Provisional Platoon, Headquarters and Service Com- 
pany, 2/1, to the Company F command post. After the clutch unit 
departed the battalion area, at 0210, and approached Captain 
Moody's CP, enemy fires immediately intensified. A violent fight 
erupted to the left of the Company F sector, but the Marines there 
held. The Chinese then tried to punch holes in other parts of the 
company line, moving eastward along jamestown. Each failure 
to breach the line seemed to signal a decrease in the intensity of 
Chinese shelling. 

This easing of Communist pressure against the main line enabled 
the Company F commander to put into operation a new attempt at 
the reinforcement and rescue of Stromboli. After the initial enemy 
assault in the early hours of 13 August had ended in failure, the 
Chinese made repeated attempts to capture the outpost. At one 
time it appeared that a company of Chinese had overrun the hill. 
Later, however, the Stromboli stronghold radioed that the enemy 
force, subsequently identified as only a platoon, had encircled the 
Marine position. To relieve enemy pressure at Hill 48A, Captain 
Moody employed a rifle platoon which set out for the outpost at 

Simultaneously, as if their intelligence had advance knowledge of 
the 1st Marines recovery plan, the Chinese stepped up the tempo of 
their attack at Stromboli. A fresh assault by the enemy was stymied 
by Marine superiority in hand-to-hand combat. Thereafter, close-in 


Operations in West Korea 

defensive fires continued to ring the outpost and to discourage future 
assaults. The approach of the second Marine rescue party eliminated 
much of the pressure that Communist foot soldiers had maintained 
around the hill position. After a 90-minute exchange of fire with 
the enemy, the friendly platoon penetrated the encirclement and 
rushed to the besieged outpost at the hill crest. At this point the 
Chinese disengaged and withdrew towards the north. 

After their diversion against Stromboli had approached the 
proportions of a full-scale attack, with the enemy having reinforced 
from platoon to company size, the Chinese then initiated their main 
thrust, an attempt to retake Bunker. Captain Connolly (1/3/1) had 
reported that shortly before 0100 Communist mortar fire had begun 
falling on his positions on the southern slope of Bunker Hill. Simul- 
taneously, Chinese artillery stepped up the rate of its barrage fires 
as did the assaulting close-in enemy infantry. Captain Connolly 
then requested the 11th Marines to place box-me-in fires around the 
Marine company positions on Hill 122. Artillery furnished these 
defensive fires almost immediately. 

Shortly after 0130, the Marines in the center and right of the 
1/3/1 position observed a large number of Chinese, deployed into 
a skirmish line, headed directly for their part of the hill. The attack 
was accompanied by intense machine gun and rifle fire. It was 
countered by an equally heavy reply from Marines on Bunker. For 
nearly four hours the battle raged at Hill 122. Unsuccessful enemy 
frontal assaults were followed by attempts to dislodge the defenders 
from the rear. In their continuing thrust against the hill, the Chinese 
were repulsed by Marine coordinated support fires — tank, rocket, 
artillery, and mortar. 

By firing on known or suspected assembly areas and Chinese 
infantry units advancing up the draws towards Hill 122, these 
Marine supporting weapons helped to preserve the status quo at 
Bunker. Repeated box-me-ins were also fired by the 11th Marines 
during the early-morning Communist attacks on 13 August. Explod- 
ing friendly mortar shells increased the effectiveness of the hill 
defense; nine rocket ripples 27 fired by the artillery regiment further 
supported Marines at the critical terrain position. Tanks unleashed 

27 A characteristic of 4.5-inch rocket launcher is the discharge of 24 rounds in quick 
succession, called a ripple. A battery of six launchers can fire 144 rounds on target in 
less than a minute. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


their deadly fire on nearby enemy outposts to neutralize them; their 
90mm guns, aided by the battlefield illumination from tank fighting 
lights, helped eliminate Chinese foot soldiers attempting to envelop 
Marine positions on Bunker. 

It was in this direction that an enemy force, estimated at rein- 
forced battalion strength, headed during the early morning fighting 
on Hill 122. At 0330, the struggle for possession of the height had 
reached the climax. For an hour the issue remained in doubt. Then, 
as the Chinese small arms fire decreased, the tempo of the enemy's 
artillery shelling increased. This, the division correctly deduced, 
announced the beginning of a temporary Communist withdrawal 
from Bunker Hill. 

Although the immediate danger of the enemy onslaught had ended 
for the time being, Marines to the rear of the jamestown Line 
stepped up their defensive preparations. Division, regimental, and 
battalion operational plans were put into effect to prevent a Chinese 
victory. The seriousness of the situation on the 1st Marines right flank 
at Stromboli early on 13 August had resulted in the movement of one 
company of 5th Marines into blocking positions behind the MLR 
near the left regimental boundary. To the south of Bunker Hill, 
relief and replacement units from the division reserve, ordered into 
action late the previous day, maneuvered into position to strengthen 
the regimental front. One of these relief units, G/3/7, under 
command of Captain William M. Vanzuyen, had just deployed from 
its assembly area to pass through the ranks of an MLR company 
and take over the Bunker Hill positions. The Marines' situation on 
Hill 122 had deteriorated so rapidly, however, that the 3/1 com- 
mander rushed two reinforced squads forward from 1/3/7, the 
nearest MLR unit. 

The Company G reinforcement unit jumped off from Jamestown 
and arrived at Bunker shortly after sunup, where it reinforced 
Captain Connolly's positions during the height of the battle for 
possession of Hill 122. Not long after, the Chinese initiated their 
withdrawal under cover of increased artillery and mortar barrages. 
As they left, the Communists policed the battlefield in their typically 
thorough manner. A Marine platoon that swept the northern slope 
of Bunker failed to find any enemy bodies in this area so recently 
abandoned by the Chinese, but did take under fire and kill seven 
enemy that had remained on Hill 122. 


Operations in West Korea 

Before I/3/l had sent one of its platoons to reconnoiter the far 
side of Bunker Hill, Lieutenant Colonel Armitage ordered H/3/7, 
under Captain John G. Demas, forward to relieve friendly forces at 
the contested height. The exchange of units was completed before 
noon of the 13th. By Late afternoon, except for Company H, all 
2d and 3d Battalions, 7th Marines units that had moved up to 
reinforce the 1st Marines were on their way back to the regimental 
reserve area. At this time the 1st Marines CO, Colonel Layer, 
reported to General Selden that the Bunker Hill action during 12-13 
August had resulted in 24 Marines killed and 214 wounded. On the 
right, in the 2d Battalion sector, an additional 40 Marines were 
listed as casualties, including 7 killed in the Stromboli defense. 
Chinese known dead numbered 210, plus an estimated 470 killed and 
625 wounded. 28 Artillery and aerial observers reported that between 
1500 on the 12th and 0600 the following morning an estimated 
5,000 to 10,000 rounds of enemy fire had fallen on 1st Marines 
positions, the "heaviest incoming fires received by the Division since 
coming into the present sector." 29 

The number of casualties from the Bunker Hill action was to 
increase further that same day with a renewed attack on the outpost. 
Before the Chinese again engaged Hill 122, however, they made a 
diversionary attack on the western flank at the extreme left of the 
3/1 sector. At dusk on 13 August, the enemy shelled the Company 
G Marines at COP 2, the critical height overlooking the Panmunjom 
peace corridor. The shelling caused several casualties and lasted 90 
minutes. Towards the end, Communist infantrymen moved forward 
and fired on the outpost. At about the same time, Company H 
personnel emplaced on the MLR to the rear of COP 2 began to 
receive artillery rounds in preassault proportions. 

A ground attack in this western end of the 3/1 sector did not 
materialize, however. Instead, the Chinese resumed their attack on 
Bunker Hill. Since their temporary withdrawal early on the 13th, 
the CCF had repeatedly sent mortar and artillery barrages against 
the bastion to harass its new occupants. On occasion these well- 
aimed mortar rounds found their mark. Mortars interdicting a trail 
used for resupply of the Hill 122 defenders did inflict some casual- 

- s IstMarDiv PIR 658, dtd 14 Aug 52. 
- a Selden, Dh Staff Rpt, p. 19. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


ties on two groups rushing emergency supplies forward from the 

At 2100, while continuing his shelling of the left end of the 3/1 
sector, the enemy lifted his preparation on Hill 122 to permit a 
CCF reinforced company to make a new assault there on the Marine 
defenders. Captain Demas called for box-me-ins to seal off his 
positions and illumination shells to help locate the enemy force. 
Utilizing the draw to the east of Hill 58A, the Chinese proceeded 
west to Bunker where they pitted one platoon against the center of 
the Company H, 3/7 line and another against the right flank. 
Defensive fires momentarily held off the intruders, although some 
were able to break through to the Marines' fighting positions. 

Those enemy troops who penetrated the Marine defenses were 
quickly eliminated by grenades and small arms fire. Unable to 
weaken the Marine defenses any further and by now sustaining siz- 
able casualties from unrelenting Marine artillery and mortar con- 
centrations, the Communists withdrew at 2215. Marine defenders 
estimated they had killed 175 enemy during this latest encounter; 
a firm count of 20 bodies were found on the shell-torn slopes. Com- 
pany H casualties, all from enemy mortar and artillery fire, were 7 
killed and 21 wounded. 1 ' Enemy incoming was again heavy during 
this period, with a reported 3,000 rounds falling in the sector. 

In the 3d Battalion sector, Marine and KSC stretcher bearers 
brought casualties to the 1/3/1 CP, several hundred yards to the 
rear of the front line. At the command post, the critically wounded 
were airlifted by helicopter to the rear. Less seriously wounded 
casualties were placed in jeep ambulances and carried to the battalion 
forward aid station, about two miles away. Here a team of doctors 
and corpsmen examined and treated patients, discharged a few, 
but prepared most for further evacuation. At the 1st Marines for- 
ward aid station, patients were reexamined and their wounds 
redressed when required; discharge or further evacuation was also 
accomplished. Most of the Marines brought to this forward facility 

30 During the fighting on the 13th, Hospitalman John E. Kilmer was mortally 
wounded while "administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation." 
Though wounded by enemy mortars, he continued his life-saving efforts until another 
barrage took his life. He had died shielding a wounded Marine undergoing emergency 
treatment. Hospitalman Kilmer, a distant cousin of poet Joyce Kilmer, became the first 
of four corpsmen serving with the 1st Marine Division to be awarded the Medal of 
Honor during the trench warfare in western Korea. 


Operations in West Korea 

had become exhausted from vigorous activity in the high temperature 
and humidity which characterized the South Korean summer. The 
regimental aid station treated these heat cases and then released 
them to their units. 

Company B Returns to Bunker Hill 31 

Division intelligence subsequently reported that the 2100 attack on 
13 August had been made by an enemy battalion with a reinforced 
company in assault. This same unit again sent a small band of 
Chinese soldiers against Hill 122 at 0225 the following morning. This 
clash was to be the briefest of all offensives for control of Bunker 
Hill during the 11-17 August period. Prior to launching this four- 
minute fire fight, an enemy machine gun at Siberia had attempted 
to harass the Marines at Bunker Hill. In retaliation, Marine tanks 
illuminated this enemy weapon with their searchlights and immedi- 
ately took it under fire with their 90mm guns, knocking it out of 
action. At the same time, enemy artillery attempted to shell friendly 
tanks. During this brief fire exchange, one tanker was wounded 
slightly and the lens of one fighting light was splintered by frag- 
ments from enemy shells bursting around the tanks. The inconse- 
quential probe was made, Marines believed, not so much to seriously 
challenge Marines holding Hill 122 as it was to retrieve CCF dead 
and wounded from the major attack a few hours earlier that night. 

Anticipating that a much heavier ground attack was close at hand, 
the 1st Marines ordered a reinforcement of the Bunker Hill position. 
Even before the heavy action on the 13th, this machinery had been 
set in motion. To this end, the 3d Battalion was to reinforce the 
Bunker defense by sending a 1/1 platoon to the hill and the 2d 
Battalion was instructed to return Company A (minus this platoon) 
to the reserve battalion. At 0415 on the 14th, Company E/2/1, led 
since 10 August by Captain Stanley T. Moak, took over from 
A/1/1 the responsibility for the 2d Battalion's MLR "Siberia sector," 
adjacent to the Bunker Hill area held by the 3d Battalion. The Com- 
pany A reinforcing platoon arrived at Hill 122 just before dusk, 

31 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from-. IstMarDiv, 
IstMar, 3/1, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


preceding another CCF company attack by only a few hours. 

At midnight the 1st Marines front was suspiciously quiet for a 
few minutes. Forward on Hill 122, there was no apparent enemy 
activity. Captain Demas sent out a two fire-team patrol from Bunker 
to reconnoiter northwest of Bunker towards the Chinese lines. 
Shortly after the eight Marines returned with a negative report of 
contact with the enemy, the regiment received a report about the 
outbreak of a small arms clash between defenders on the left flank 
of Bunker and an enemy unit farther west. At 0118 on 15 August 
what had initially appeared to be a minor contest suddenly erupted 
into a heated fire fight all along the 124-122 Bunker Ridge complex. 
At the request of Captain Dumas, Marine artillery fired protective 
boxes around the Bunker positions. This defensive maneuver held 
the attackers in check. 

At this moment, Chinese infantrymen in the draw running along- 
side the 124-122-120 ridge system were massed for an assault 
on Bunker from the northeast. The plan might have been successful 
had not a fighting light from a tank on the main line intercepted 
the Communists in this state of their preparations. In a matter of 
moments, friendly artillery, mortar, and tank fire struck the Chinese 
and scattered the formation. 

After discovering he could not successfully pull a sneak attack, 
the enemy reverted to his usual procedure, employing a preassault 
bombardment prior to his infantry assault. This preparation began 
at 0206; it reached the rate of approximately 100 rounds of 82 and 
122mm mortar shells per minute. While supporting weapons 
pounded the Marines, the Chinese assault commander reorganized 
his attack force that the Marine shelling had scattered. Communist 
infantry then moved forward and fired on the Bunker Marines, who 
replied with rifles and machine guns and box-me-in fires. Unable to 
penetrate this protective mask around the positions, the Chinese 
gradually decreased their small arms and artillery fire until, at 0315, 
the rate of exploding shells at Hill 122 had dropped to only four 
or five per minute. Soon thereafter the small arms fire slacked off 
entirely and by 0400 even the mortars had stopped. Across the entire 
1st Marines front, all was quiet again. 

During the Company H defense of the hill, enemy losses, caused 
mostly by friendly artillery and mortar fire, were placed at 350, 
including 40 counted dead. Captain Demas' Marines suffered 35 


Operations in West Korea 

casualties, of whom 7 were killed. En route to the MLR after relief 
by B/3/1, the company suffered four more casualties, including two 
KIAs, all the victims of Chinese mortars. 

It was not long before these weapons inflicted casualties on Com- 
pany B, which had six of its men wounded even before the H/3/7 
unit had reached JAMESTOWN. Another Marine at Bunker was 
wounded by enemy mortars later that morning. At 1640 the Com- 
munists again probed Bunker Hill, this time in company strength. 
Striking in daylight during a thunderstorm and without any prepara- 
tory fires, the Chinese attackers failed to achieve any tactical surprise. 
The defenders fired both infantry and supporting weapons; some 
threw grenades at the few Communists who did manage to get close 
to the fighting positions. At 1750, the Chinese withdrew, this time 
leaving 35 of their dead in the attack area. Four Marines had been 
wounded; five others suffering from battle fatigue were later 

Exactly when the enemy would strike next at Bunker Hill was not 
known by the Marines. Most believed that the Communists would 
return but only speculated as to when. Although the battalion felt 
that "the enemy was not expected to attack again for some time," 32 
events were to prove otherwise, In any case, the battalion was pre- 
pared, having an adequate force on Bunker and sufficient local 
reserves to absorb an attack up to the strength of any received so far. 
Division supporting arms were readily available for commitment at 
critical points. 

The Chinese soon put an end to the conjecture about the next 
attack. At 0040, 16 August, an enemy force, later estimated as a 
battalion, came out of positions to the west and north of Hill 122. 
Supported by mortars at first, and later on by artillery, the battalion 
sent one company against the Marine outpost. Several attacking ele- 
ments were able to penetrate the defensive fires. These Chinese 
reached the crest of the hill and began using their rifles, automatic 
weapons, and hand grenades against the defenders. Captain Scranton 
called for reinforcements. A platoon from 1/3/7 was dispatched 
promptly from the 3/1 sector. The reinforcements departed james- 
town just as the fire fight on Bunker began to subside. By 0315, the 
enemy had begun his withdrawal, and another reinforcing element, 

32 3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 4. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


1/3/1, had moved forward; this time from regiment to Lieutenant 
Colonel Armitage's CP. 

About two hours later a brief fire fight flared up in the Company 
B sector. No ground assault was made on Marine positions. The 
enemy force, of undertermined strength, never closed with the 
Marines and within 10 minutes, the firing stopped. No casualties to 
the Marines resulted during this exchange. The earlier clash had 
resulted in the death of 3 Marines and the wounding of 27. Enemy 
losses were estimated at 40 killed and 30 wounded. 

Before it came off the hill, Company B was engaged by enemy 
fire three more times. At 1945, Chinese mortars (82mm) wounded 
two Marines. Later, heavier mortars placed 20 rounds on Hill 122, 
but these caused no casualties. There were some losses, however, 
early on the morning of the 17th when C/l/1 was relieving the 
Bunker defenders. Captain Scranton's Marines sustained five more 
wounded from automatic weapons, five during the relief. 

The second relief of Company B on Bunker brought to a close 
the battle that had been waged for possession of the vital hill com- 
plex. During the Hill 122 tours of Company C and other 1st Marines 
units that followed in August, seven more ground actions tested the 
Bunker Hill defenses. Only one of them, during the night of 25-26 
August, was of significant size. This attack also failed to dislodge 
the Marines from the hill. 

Supporting Arms at Bunker Hill 39 

It was quite natural that the flurry of ground activity during the 
battle of Bunker Hill created a need for increased participation from 
Marine supporting arms. The magnitude of infantry action during 
the contest for Hill 122 resulted in a monthly record to date in 1952 
for the amount of air support received as well as the volume of both 
artillery and tank fires supporting the division. During this critical 
9-1 6 August period, the 11th Marines played a part in every ground 
action except the feint attack on Siberia and the seizure of Bunker 
Hill, both of which were purposely executed without an artillery 
preparation. Medium tanks fired day and night missions during 

33 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFU EvalRpt 
No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 4-16 Aug 52; 
1st Mar, 1st TkBn ComdDs, Aug 52; MAGs-12, -33 ComdDs, Aug 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

most of the infantry action. Close air support at times amounted to a 
strike every 20 minutes. 

During the ground action around Bunker, Siberia, and Stromboli, 
the division received close air support in amounts unparalleled for 
jamestown Marines to that time. Marine and U.S. Air Force pilots 
flew a total of 458 missions (including 27 ground controlled MPQ- 
14 radar bombing attacks) during five of the most critical days, 
9-13 August. On two of them, the 1st Marine Division received 
priority of close air support along the whole EUSAK front. Fifth Air 
Force assigned 1st MAW aircraft to Marine requests for close air 
support as long as Marine aircraft were available. 

The initial air strike by Marines in the Bunker fighting was on 
9 August in support of counterattack plans for Siberia. MAG-33 
provided a morning and evening flight of four F9F jet fighters to 
destroy enemy forces and defensive works on 58A (Siberia). 
USAF fighter-bombers attacked Siberia and other outposts nearby 
and enemy artillery positions supporting the Chinese forward line. 
On the next day, air operations, concentrating on Siberia, were 
stepped up considerably against enemy outposts. Thirty-five aircraft 
in nine missions attacked 58A with bombs, rockets, and napalm. 
These strikes were carried out by MAG-12 and U.S. Air Force pilots 
at irregular intervals during daylight hours. Air controllers reported 
good results. Other aircraft hit known mortar locations capable of 
supporting the Chinese. During the morning, Marine Attack Squad- 
ron 121 (Lieutenant Colonel Philip "L" Crawford) bombed and 
burned Bunker Hill. Just before sunset, F-80 and -84 jets of the 
U.S. Air Force dropped 15 tons of bombs on mortar positions and 
troops on and around Hill 120. Four F-80s also participated with 
eight Marine AD-2 propeller-driven attack aircraft in the morning 
attack on Bunker. 

Air activity in support of the 1st Marines continued unabated on 
11 August. Before the diversionary ground attack just after dusk 
that day, Marine and Fifth Air Force fliers repeated the treatment 
that Hills 58A and 122 had received the previous day. During day- 
light, supporting weapons positions were hit by FAF fighter planes. 
At night, MAG-12 air attacks guided by the MPQ-14 radar bombing 
system destroyed hostile artillery and mortars. Also during the dark, 
the medium bombers of the FEAF Bomber Command struck deeper 
in the rear at heavy weapons locations. 

These Air Force bombers conducted four more controlled-bombing 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


attacks against Chinese artillery during the early hours of 12 August, 
when Company B was consolidating its positions and hastily organ- 
izing the defense of Bunker Hill. After daylight and until dusk, 
MAGs-12 and -33 and USAF squadrons provided four-plane flights 
to strike troop assembly areas, supporting weapons positions, and 
observation posts close to Hill 122. In late afternoon, Marine pilots 
in four F9F Panther jets and three ADs bombed and burned the 
enemy side of Bunker Hill during the shelling and subsequent 
ground attack against the Marines on the eastern slope. 

Marines flew, on 13 August, all of the daylight close air support 
missions in support of the actions on both Bunker in the center and 
Stromboli in the right of the 1st Marines sector. On 13 August, a 
total of 94 aircraft were committed over the regimental sector to 
conduct strikes in support of ground operations. Enemy Hill 104, 
commanding the 2/1 outpost on 48A (Stromboli), received four 
attacks. Fighter bombers (F4U propeller-driven Corsairs) carrying 
napalm, rockets, and 1,000-pound bombs, raided the hill mass at0535. 
The other strikes against this key terrain-feature were made by attack 
and fighter aircraft during the afternoon. Other targets on the regi- 
mental right were weapons positions beyond Hill 104 and an enemy 
outpost one thousand yards west of Stromboli. 

Most of the air support received by the 1st Marines on the 13th 
was directed against targets that were participating — or that were 
capable of taking part — in the battle on Bunker Hill. Against the 
enemy on the height itself, the Marines directed only three strikes, 
and these came late in the morning. A majority of the air attacks 
were dispatched against observation and command posts and the 
firing positions of both automatic and large caliber weapons. Chinese 
artillery and mortar fire had inflicted more casualties and punishment 
on the Marines than the enemy infantry assaults. As a consequence, 
the main effort of the close air support strikes was directed against 
these hostile supporting weapons. 

After dark on the 13th, VMF(N)-513 commanded by Colonel 
Peter D. Lambrecht, 34 took up the air offensive against the heavy 

' M Two days later, Colonel Lambrecht, flying a F3D twin jet night fighter with his 
radar operator, Second Lieutenant James M. Brown, disappeared while on a night flight. 
The last known position of the plane was over the Yellow Sea, 50 air miles west of 
Pyongyang. At about that point the aircraft faded from the radar screen. Efforts to re- 
establish communications failed. It was reported that observers at sea sighted a crash 
and explosion at about this same time. Extensive search failed to uncover any trace of 
the Marines or their aircraft. 


Operations in West Korea 

firing positions in the rear of the enemy line. The squadron con- 
ducted four attacks with its night fighters. Two of its attacks were 
made just before sunrise. 

During the remainder of the battle of Bunker Hill, the ground 
fighting subsided and the requirement for close air support abated 
accordingly. On the 14th, only four daylight strikes were flown in 
the 1st Marines area. These, all by Marine squadrons, were against 
active artillery and mortars in the defilade of Hill 120 and others to 
the west on the far slope of Hill 123, and Chinese outpost positions, 
west of 48A, which had been pestering the Stromboli garrison. 
There were no flights after dark on the 14th, but on the following 
night, two MPQ missions were flown by VMF(N)-513. Each was 
a single plane flight against a reported artillery location. This was 
the final night air action in the battle for Bunker Hill. Daylight 
missions in support of Hill 122 defense after the sharp decrease of 
attacks on the 14th numbered only seven attacks, each by four planes. 
These, flown by Marines, continued to emphasize the destruction of 
enemy artillery. 

Marine artillery continued its support of ground troops and air 
strikes. Cannoneers of the 11th Marines fired 21 flak suppression 
missions during the five days beginning on 11 August. This type of 
close coordination between Marine supporting arms further reduced 
combat losses of aircraft providing CAS to the division. The Marine 
artillerymen had played a vital part in the defense of the besieged 
outposts. Lieutenant Colonel Armitage credited the box-me-in fires 
with an important role in thwarting each enemy attack on Bunker. 35 

In the 24-hour period beginning at 1800 on 12 August, Marine 
artillery directly supporting the 1st Marines fired 10,652 rounds. 
Most of the ammunition was expended in support of the Bunker 
Hill defense; some was used in behalf of the Marines outposting 
Stromboli during the Communists' early morning diversion that day. 
On the 9th, the direct support battalion, 3/11 (Lieutenant Colonel 
Charles O. Rogers), had fired about one-fourth of the 12-13 August 
total. Many of the shells that first day of the Bunker battle were 
preparatory to counterattacks for regaining Siberia. 

When the retaking of Hill 58A was discarded in favor of the 
surprise attack on 122, the amount of artillery support was reduced, 

3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, pp. 3-4. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


during the 1st Marines infantry preparations on the 10th and 11th, 
in keeping with the fire support plan. Upon seizure of Bunker, 
Lieutenant Colonel Rogers' business immediately picked up and 
quickly reached a crescendo the following day, when the 10,652 
shells fired became a Marine one-day battalion record for western 
Korea until the last stages of fighting in 1953. Other Marine artillery 
battalions fired reinforcing missions during the critical period as 
did the 4.5-inch Rocket Battery which fired a large number of 
on-call ripples. The regimental commander later recalled that "during 
some of the crises every gun that could bear on Bunker in the 1 1th 
Marines and reinforcing units was shooting there." 80 

After a sharp drop on the 14th, the artillery support gradually 
decreased in proportion to the amount and strength of the enemy's 
action against Hill 122. By 20 August, 3/11 was firing only 244 
rounds a day. Only on the 26th, during a serious Chinese attempt 
to retake Bunker, did the number of artillery rounds match the 
intensity of the fire support rendered during the earlier part of the 

It was not only the quantity of 11th Marines support that the 
infantry called for during the battle of Bunker Hill; quality was 
equally important. A majority of the more than 28,000 rounds that 
3/11 fired during the eight days of Bunker Hill fell around the 
besieged outposts. Many rounds were fired in defense of MLR 
positions. In both of these types of protective fires, extreme accuracy 
and precision were required due to the proximity of enemy and 
friendly lines in order to prevent any "short" rounds from falling 
among Marine positions. Lieutenant Colonel Armitage recalled that 
during the height of the battle on the night of 12 August, "we did 
have a bad scare . . . when Captain Connolly reported that friendly 
mortar fire was falling short." 87 The battalion immediately ceased 
fire with its 60mms, 81mms, and 4.2s and each piece was checked; 
the culprit was quickly located and within 5-10 minutes 3/l re- 
sumed fire. 

During the August battle, artillery in general support of the 
entire division and I Corps artillery reinforcing the fires of 

30 BGen Frederick P. Henderson ltr to Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC and MS com- 
ments, dtd 20 Jun 67, hereafter Henderson ltr III. 
87 Armitage ltr and comments, p. 12. 


Operations in West Korea 

Colonel Henderson's regiment, stepped up their efforts to destroy 
the distant and more difficult targets, including mortars and artillery. 
These continued to be the main cause of Marine casualties, Some of 
the labors of the 11th Marines gun crews did silence enemy heavy 
weapons, but personnel losses from enemy shellings still mounted, 
especially in the infantry units. To assist in the location and destruc- 
tion of the enemy artillery, aerial observers spent considerable time 
in spotting and fixing Chinese weapons positions. 

Besides these counterbattery efforts, the 11th Marines employed 
other artillery means to provide the additional support the 1st Marine 
Division requested during Bunker Hill. Two of these were the 
counter-counterbattery and the countermortar programs, the former 
being a passive defense-deception program to minimize Chinese 
counterbattery fires against 11th Marines weapons. Nearly every day 
C Battery, 17th Field Artillery Battalion, fired special request 
missions. 38 Another type of fire, flak suppression, aided the cause 
of close air support pilots delivering ordnance against those Chinese 
positions taking Bunker Hill and Stromboli under fire. At night, 
illumination shells helped outpost and frontline Marines in locating 
groups of enemy massing for assault on Hill 122. 

Mortars (4.2-inch) of the 1st Marines contributed heavily to the 
defense of the outposts. Operations reached a peak on 12-13 August 
when, in a 24-hour period, Captain Carl H. Benson's mortar company 
fired 5,952 rounds — 4,084 high explosive and 1,868 illuminating. 
In addition to their defensive fires, these hard-hitting weapons 
attacked Chinese mortars, automatic weapons, defensive positions, 
and troop formations with deadly accuracy. 

No less precise and lethal were the fires of Captain Gene M. 
McCain's gun tanks (Company C, 1st Tank Battalion), and the 
battalion flame tanks. Three of the latter had fired their 105s in. 
support of the KMC on the morning of the 9th before the vehicles 
received orders to move east to join Company C temporarily. On 
the next day, 90s fired on enemy bunkers, observation posts, and 
trenches in the vicinity of Siberia and Stromboli. During 11 August, 
two gun tanks blasted at targets immediately beyond Siberia and 
others to the west of that outpost. 

Towards the end of the 11th, the critical part of Bunker battle 
began for the tankers also. Those elements of Lieutenant Colonel 

38 Many of these targets were CCF choke points, clumps, and weapons emplacements. 
Targets were identified and confirmed by a highly developed system that employed air 
spotting, aerial photographic interpretation, artillery evaluation, and POW interrogation. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


John I. Williamson's battalion supporting the diversion and the 
subsequent main attack pulled into positions south of Hill. 122 on 
the MLR and to the right in the Company F sector. It was not until 
the next day that the tanks operating with the 1st Marines reached 
a peak in gun support for the Bunker fight. Beginning with the 
defense of Hill 122 from 1600 that day, and for the next 26 hours, 
the tankers placed 817 shells on targets effecting the Chinese capa- 
bility of capturing Bunker and Stromboli. In addition to the heavy 
ammunition, the Company C tanks, augmented by the 1st Marines 
antitank platoon and five tanks from the division tank reserve, fired 
32,000 rounds of .30 caliber machine gun ammunition. 

Except on the 11th, most of the tank firing in the fight for Bunker 
Hill through 14 August was accomplished during the hours of dark- 
ness. On the latter date, the cannons and machine guns of the 
mediums blasted directly at Chinese outposts opposite Colonel 
Layer's regiment. The number of rounds that day fell off considerably 
from the high on the 13th; on the 15th the tanks in the 1st Marines 
area did not fire at all. Heavy rain that had accompanied the late 
afternoon thundershower that day made movement forward to firing 
positions impractical. By the next day, however, the ground was 
solid enough to permit some maneuvering by the tracked vehicles. 
They fired 52 rounds of 90mm shells and 14,750 machine gun 
rounds at automatic weapons positions and bunkers on the western 
slope of Hill 122. This marked the final tank mission in support 
of the 1st Marines in the battle for Bunker Hill. 

During the early part of the August fighting, tanks of the division 
were able to get the first real test of a technique of night support, 39 
and at the same time experiment with a towing device to permit 
retrieval of disabled vehicles under fire without getting outside 
the tank. The use of the lights to support both the diversionary 
force and the defense of Hill 122 showed the value of these instru- 
ments. Lieutenant Colonel Williamson recommended that tanks be 
employed in pairs, one to spot and adjust fire and the other to fire. 
With respect to the towing device, he considered the new piece of 
equipment an improvement over the manual hook-up method, but 
noted that the device limited tank maneuverability and had a tend- 

30 The use of fighting lights to illuminate targets for tank gunners had been under- 
taken in July, but the results were inconclusive, owing to failure of one of the bulbs 
of the two lights tested. 1st TkBn ComdD, Aug 52, App. VI, Encl. 2. Declared the 
G-3, IstMarDiv: "The diversion on Siberia was 100 percent effective, due largely to 
the new tank battle lights which we were using for the first time." Honsowelz llr 11. 


Operations in West Korea 

ency when bouncing up and down over rough terrain to dig into the 
ground, impeding the forward progress of the vehicle. 

In Retrospect™ 

Whether the sacrifice of Siberia in favor of the seizure of Bunker 
justified the outcome can be determined, in part, by looking back 
to the division commander's reasons for this decision. He had cited 
three advantages in seizing and occupying Hill 122 instead of 58A. 
One, tactical surprise achieved by an attack on the former, was an 
unqualified success. That Bunker Hill would provide more defen- 
sible terrain and at the same time add strength to the main line 
were two sound judgments that the test of time would bear out. The 
third point, that observation into the enemy's outpost line would 
be increased from the higher hill, also proved to be correct. 

Only the inability to neutralize Hill 58A effectively from Bunker 
cast any doubt on the considerations. At night the enemy could 
occupy Siberia both for firing positions and flank security to attack 
friendly forces moving down the corridor east of Hill 122. Action 
to counter these two enemy actions came mainly from MLR forces. 

One measure of the results of the Bunker Hill fighting is seen in 
the price paid. Chinese losses were estimated by the 1st Marine 
Division at approximately 3,200, including more than 400 known 
dead. Marine casualties in the action were 48 killed and 313 seriously 
wounded. Several hundred additional wounded were treated at 1st 
Marines medical facilities and returned to duty shortly thereafter. 

To replace combat losses in the infantry regiment, General Selden 
on 12 August directed that rear area service and support units 
fill the vacancies. Two hundred Marines, nearly all of them volun- 
teers, were provided to Colonel Layer by the l4th. To offset other 
losses within the division, its commander similarly had requested 
on 12 August that the Commandant, General Lemuel C. Shepherd, 
Jr., authorize an air-lifting of 500 enlisted Marine infantrymen to 
the 1st Marine Division as soon as possible. Pointing out that 
mounting battle casualties had reduced the effective strength of the 

40 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: FMFPac, 1st- 
MarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52; PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; IstMarDiv, IstMai 
ComdDs, Aug 52. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


division, General Selden also urged that each of the next two 
monthly replacement drafts scheduled for the division be increased by 
500 more enlisted men. After some debate at the next senior adminis- 
trative headquarters, 41 the request was granted by General Shepherd, 
and the emergency replacements were made available from the 3d 
Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. The initial replace- 
ment of 500 Marines arrived on 21 August. 

More men to replace divisional combat losses might have been 
required had not the medical support been such an efficient opera- 
tion. After the battle, the regimental surgeon, Lieutenant Robert E. 
Murto, called for a review of the medical facilities in effect during 
the Bunker, Siberia, and Stromboli fighting. In attendance were the 
battalion doctors and the division surgeon, Captain Lawrence E. 
Bach. Participants discussed both the major difficulties and routine 
procedures involved in medical care of the wounded. Problem areas 
were the high incidence of heat exhaustion, ground transportation of 
the wounded, enemy artillery fire that interfered with helicopter 
evacuations, and the need for increased medical support under battle 

Regarding the last category, the surgeons noted that medical 
supplies during the heavy fighting of 9-16 August were never at a 
dangerously low level. The only shortage that had developed was in 
stretchers, due to the normal delay in transfer of stretchers from 
medical stations along the evacuation route to the company forward 
medical facilities. To help combat the Chinese artillery problem, 
medical officers had placed aid stations on the reverse slopes of hills. 
There was no available or known solution to hastening and easing 
the movement of battlefield casualties over the ground. The armored 
personnel carrier offered some protection from ground fire and a 
ride less painful than one in a truck, but the wheeled vehicles 
remained the most widely used. 

There was little that could be done about the number of heat 
exhaustion cases. High temperature and humidity, vigorous activity, 

41 CG, FMFPac, Lieutenant General Hart, requested the Commandant to delay deci- 
sion until FMFPac could survey the combat replacement situation and aircraft avail- 
ability. After a quick evaluation of both these factors, General Hart on the 14th 
recommended approval. FMFPac ComdD, Aug 52, App. I, End. (6). The air lift of 500 
replacements to Korea was an "all out effort for Marine Aviation Transport based on 
the West Coast. This general support of Korean based forces demonstrated the total 
capability of Marine Aviation in support of ground forces." MajGen Samuel S. Jack to 
Hd, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 27 Jun 67, hereafter Jack Itr. 


Operations in West Korea 

and the wearing of the armored vest (and to some degree, the steel 
helmet), combined to produce the casualties. All the surgeons 
agreed that regardless of the number of heat casualties, the wearing 
of these two items must continue. Regimental doctors credited the 
armored vest with saving the lives of 17 Marines. Several other 
Marines, they noted, had received only slight head wounds from 
bullets that had spent most of their velocity penetrating the steel 

Helicopter evacuation saved the lives of other Marines. The doctors 
credited the flying skills and bravery of the evacuation pilots for 
these rescues. Immediate response to day and night calls was instru- 
mental in the recovery of numerous Marines. Rear Admiral Lamont 
Pugh, Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy, commented upon the value 
of the helicopter and on other reasons for success of medical support. 
After a Far East inspection trip, which included a visit to the 1st 
Marine Division during the battle of Bunker Hill, Admiral Pugh 
expressed the following opinion: 

... [I] attributed the new low record "2% mortality" of those men 
wounded in action to the bullet resistant vest, to skillful frontline surgery 
with availability of whole blood, the utilization of helicopters for casualty 
evacuation direct to hospital ships and rear area hospitals, and the efficient 
manner in which the Hospital Corpsmen of the Navy fulfilled their mission 
with the Marines. 42 

In another logistical area, the performance was not quite as satis- 
factory, for the level of supply of one important item — illuminating 
shells — fell dangerously low during the Bunker fighting. On 16 
August, 3/1 reported early in the morning that "artillery illumina- 
tion was exhausted and 81mm mortar illumination was fast 
diminishing." 48 To replace the shell-produced light, the regiment 
used a flare plane. 44 

Ammunition supply appeared to be no problem to the Chinese. 
The rate and frequency of mortar and artillery fire proved that the 
enemy had a vast store of these shells. During the heavy fighting, 
the division observed that the enemy expended approximately 
17,000 mortar and artillery rounds in the 11-16 August period of 

42 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chap. 12. p. 12-8. 

43 3/1 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 4. 

44 Earlier, on 13 August, a flare drop requested by the 1st Marines went awry when 
the aircraft got off course and dropped the flares forward of the 5th Marines main line. 
IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 13 Aug 52. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


the battle. It was noted for the first time that the Chinese used 
mortars primarily in support of limited attacks. 

About the enemy's reliance on mortars and the technique of their 
employment, the 1st Marine Division reported: 

This was particularly true of his 60 and 82mm mortars, which are 
easily displaced forward and shifted to alternate positions. These light 
mortars were difficult to locate by our observers mainly because of the 
small size and limited development of their positions, and the fact that they 
are moved frequently. A large number of enemy mortars were fired from 
bunkers deep in the ground with only a narrow aperture at the top through 
which to fire. There were some instances, during the Battle of Bunker Hill, 
when the enemy brought his 60mm mortars out from cover on the forward 
slope and set them up in the open near the crest of the ridge. After 
delivering several rounds, the mortars would then displace quickly back 
to a covered position. During August, mortar fire averaged oetween 50 
and 60 percent of the total incoming received by the 1st Marine Division. 45 

Further information about the Chinese was also derived at this 
time, although not always directly associated with the battle. 
Deserters picked up in the left sectors of the 1st and 5th Marines 
on 12 and 13 August and papers taken from enemy dead on the 
13th confirmed earlier-reported dispositions of Chinese units. One 
prisoner, from the artillery regiment of the 118th Division, the unit 
facing the major part of the 1st Marines line, indicated that another 
artillery regiment had been assigned to support his division. If 
true, this extra unit would account for both the increased Chinese 
fires in the Bunker area and the additional artillery emplacements that 
photo planes had spotted in the 118th Division sector. Infantry units 
of this division, the Marines observed, introduced no new techniques 
or equipment during the battle. Prior intelligence had provided the 
1st Marines with typical enemy ground attack tactics. Neither the 
Chinese envelopment of Siberia, Stromboli, and Bunker nor the 
diversion against Hill 48A before the main attack on Hill 122 repre- 
sented a departure from normal CCF practice. 

Nor was the earlier Marine diversion new, but unlike the Chinese 
attempt, the 1st Marines tactic was successful. Just before the 
maneuver, the division pulled off another strategem, described by 
General Selden in a letter to General Shepherd: 

I worked a ruse that morning which proved to be very profitable. 
Throughout the Eighth Army front, it had been routine to put on a strike, 

IstMarDiv ComdD, Aug 52, p. 2. 


Operations in West Korea 

this to be followed by smoke, then a good artillery barrage, with troops 
following for the assault. This was done with the exception that there were 
no troops. The enemy, thinking that there were troops, opened up with 
everything. The only damage inflicted was on their own forces . . . While 
they were firing on their own troops, we again opened fire with our artillery, 
just to help the situation along. 46 

One technique the Marines employed in the Bunker Hill battle was 
defense of the reverse (protected) side of the hill. Although counter 
to the usual American military practice, the reverse slope defense 
was required by the intense artillery and mortar fire massed upon 
the front slope defenders. As the 3/1 battalion commander later 
commented : 

It's true, we suffered from the heavy incoming — but had we had to work 
replacements, casualties, and supplies all the way up to the (forward) 
military crest of Bunker — the losses would have been prohibitive. With 
the weight of the incoming and our inability to get greater infantry mass 
onto the battlefield at one time, a conventional defense would have been far 
more costly . . . [after] the damage done to Baker Company in the 
[12 August] afternoon attack . . . had we not gone into a reverse slope 
defense, we could not [have held] with the strength at hand." 47 

On the other hand, a tactical weakness of the reverse slope defense, 
that "plagued us until the end of the battle," 4S was the fact that the 
1st Marines initial gain was not more fully exploited. As the 
battalion commander explained: 

To be successful, in a reverse slope defense, the defender must im- 
mediately counterattack, retake and reoccupy the forward slope of the 
position as soon as enemy pressure diminishes. Because of the incoming 
and primarily because of our overextension in regiment, we . . . [employed] 
piecemeal commitment . . . and fed units into the battle by company, where 
we should have employed our entire battalion in counterattacks to punish 
the withdrawing force and restore the forward slope. To the very end, 
lack of decisive strength prevented this, We stayed on the reverse slope 
all the way, except for brief forays to the forward slope. 49 

Some officers felt, in retrospect, that a more feasible solution 
during the August battle might have been to move all three 
battalions on line — 3/1, 1/1, and 2/1, with the reserve battalion 

40 MajGen John T. Selden ltr to Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., dtd 14 Aug 52. 

47 Armitage ltr and draft MS comments, p. 7. For further details of the Bunker Hill 
action, see Armitage ltr in v. V, Korean comment file. 

48 Ibid., p. 8. 
40 Ibid. 

The Battle of Bunker Hill 


(l/l) deployed on a narrow front. This would have provided 
decisive strength on Bunker and the MLR behind it to give greater 
depth counterattack capability, and better control at the point where 
needed. 50 Departure from standard doctrine by employment of the 
reverse slope defense furthered the existing controversy as to the best 
method of ground organization in the division sector. But it was to 
be some months before a change would be effected. 51 

Tank, artillery, air, and ground Marines participating in the 
battle of Bunker Hill gave up one outpost but took another, one 
that added strength not only to the outpost defense but also to the 
main line. A well thought-out plan and its skillful execution per- 
mitted Marines to take the critical terrain quickly without crippling 
casualties. Defense of the position on Hill 122 was complicated not 
so much by the Chinese infantry action but by the intensive mortar 
and artillery shelling. The Marines' capability to defend was 
enhanced by close coordination among artillery, air, and tank units. 
Chinese casualties, by estimate, were 500 percent more than the 
losses actually suffered by the Marines. The battle of Bunker Hill 
resulted in the first major Marine action and victory in West Korea. 
It ushered in two straight months of hard fighting, the most difficult 
ones yet for Marines on the western front. 

00 l bid., p. 9. 

ul As the military situation changed in Korea to become increasingly one of a battle 
of position and attrition, the Marine Corps Basic School, Quantico, Va. curriculum was 
revised to give greater emphasis to tactics of positional warfare. Close attention was 
paid to terrain evaluation, employment of infantry units, offensive and defensive use of 
automatic and supporting weapons, night counterattacks, field problems of reverse slope 
defense, and even tasks of "research into WW I — and the American Civil and Revo- 
lutionary Wars for the tactic of Reverse Slope defense." Armitage lit. 


Outpost Fighting Expanded 

From the Center Sector to the Right — Early September Out- 
post Clashes — Korean COPs Hit Again — More Enemy Assaults 
in Late September — Chinese Intensify Their Outpost Attacks 
—More PRESSURE, More CAS, More Accomplishments- 
Rockets, Resupply, and Radios 

From the Center Sector to the Right 1 

Following THE progressively faltering Chinese attacks against 
Bunker Hill in mid- August, the 1st Marines in the center MLR 
sector witnessed a period of decreased enemy activity. By sun-up on 
the 17th, Captain Ksycewski's Company C, from Lieutenant Colonel 
King's 1st Battalion had relieved B/l/1, marking the second com- 
plete tour of duty at Hill 122 for Company B that month. In two 
days on the shell-torn crest, Company C received only a single enemy 
probe and only a few rounds of artillery and mortar fire. In the early 
morning hours of the 19th, D/2/1 assumed responsibility for Bunker 
and Hill 124. These new occupants of the disputed property almost 
immediately were subjected to larger and more frequent Chinese 
probes as well as increased fire from CCF supporting weapons. 

Enemy ground action was directed against the Marine flank, especi- 
ally the right. Four Chinese infantrymen attempted to infiltrate this 
corner of the Bunker Hill defenses just before sunrise on 23 August. 
One even made his way to the top of Hill 122 where he fired downhill 
at several Marine defenders, wounding one. A moment later this lone 
Chinese's reconnaissance efforts was rewarded by a fatal hit from 
a Marine sniper's rifle. 

1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Aug 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 661-675, dtd 18-31 Aug 52; IstMar, 5thMar, 2/1, 
3/1 ComdDs, Aug 52. 



Operations in West Korea 

Captain Moody's Company F next took over the two-hill complex. 
That night, the 24th, the Chinese shelled the two hills and probed 
their defenses but again showed no inclination to press an attack. On 
the following night, however, the Chinese became more aggressive. 
At dusk, two squads charged the right flank of Bunker Hill, threw 
hand grenades, and fired their submachine guns briefly at the Marines. 
The enemy then retired, but about an hour afterwards, a force esti- 
mated at two-company strength assaulted the outpost defenses from 
the center to the right. At the same time, enemy shells began ex- 
ploding around these Marine positions. Captain Moody called for 
artillery and tank fire on the attackers. Pushing forward, the Com- 
munist infantrymen forced a small opening in the defense perimeter; 
by this time, a standby platoon on the MLR was moving forward to 
strengthen the Bunker garrison. Upon arrival of the Marine reinforce- 
ments, at midnight, the Chinese soldiers withdrew. Simultaneously, 
the incoming artillery and mortar fire diminished, and in less than a 
half hour all firing had ceased. 

After the enemy had pulled back, Company F sent its platoon out 
to reoccupy a forward listening position temporarily abandoned dur- 
ing the second attack. Chinese soldiers immediately contested this 
advance and, after a local fire fight, caused the Marines to retire 
once more. That action ended the significant Bunker Hill action in 
August. In the spirited infantry fighting and artillery dueling during 
the night of 25-26 August, Marines suffered 65 casualties, including 
8 killed. The Chinese losses were estimated at 100 killed and 170 
wounded. Supporting arms fire had contributed largely to the high 
casualty figures on both sides. 

During August, whenever a lull had occurred in Colonel Layer's 
1st Marines embattled sector, it almost invariably signaled a step-up 
of Chinese action elsewhere along the 1st Marine Division MLR. 
When frustrated in their attacks against the positions held by the 
1st Marines, the enemy invariably turned his attention to the right 
cf the line, manned since June by the 5th Marines. During August 
the Chinese seized three outposts forward of the 2/5" right battalion 
line, which it had been the Marine practice to man during daylight 
hours only. The trio, forming a diagonal line southwest to northeast, 
in front of the battalion sector were Elmer, Hilda, and Irene. 

- Command responsibility for this sector changed on 20 August, when Lieutenant 
Colonel William S. McLaughlin took over the battalion from Lieutenant Colonel Cross. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


After dusk on 6 August the enemy had advanced to COP Elmer, 
on the far southwest end, and by skillful coordination of their 
infantry and supporting fires denied the position to the Marines 
approaching to reoccupy the outpost early the next morning. An hour 
before midnight on 11 August, another 2/5 patrol had attempted to 
temporarily occupy Hilda, in the center, during the diversionary fires 
supporting the Bunker Hill attack. As the Marines neared the outpost, 
however, they discovered the Chinese had already occupied it. Enemy 
mortar and artillery fire drove the patrol back to its own lines. 

A similar situation occurred at dawn on 17 August, when the 
Marine outpost detail moved forward to occupy Irene during daylight 
hours and found the Chinese already on the position. Enemy troops 
fired at the Marines, pinning them down. 3 Although two rescue units 
were dispatched to support the Marines, CCF fire interdicted their 
route of approach. When it became evident the second reinforcement 
party could not reach its objective, the outpost detail was ordered to 
pull back to the MLR. The Chinese continued to occupy Irene, the 
last outpost lost in August, for the remainder of the 2/5 tour on line. 

For the remainder of August the Chinese were apparently content 
to hold what they had gained without immediately seeking additional 
positions. As a result, operations along the front were mostly limited 
to patrol action. Chinese infantry units, usually no larger than a 
squad, regularly fired on Marine patrols, engaging them for a short 
period from afar, and then quickly breaking off the contact. Seldom 
was this small unit action supported by artillery or mortars. 

On two occasions late in the month, however, the Chinese showed 
more spirit. Both encounters took place during the early evening 
hours of 22 August when Chinese patrols came upon two different 
Company F ambushes operating forward of the 2/5 sector. Heavy 
casualties were suffered by both sides. 

The next day a brief but heavy period of rainfall began with nine 
inches recorded between 23-25 August. Although the flooding condi- 
tions in the division sector were not so extensive as the July rains, 
they curtailed ground activity considerably and air action to a lesser 

3 To escape the murderous hostile fire, the Marines sought shelter in a trench nearby. 
During the ensuing clash, a Chinese grenade landed in the midst of the Marines. Pri- 
vate First Class Robert E. Simanek, E/2/5, unhesitatingly threw himself upon ttit 
deadly missile an instant before it exploded. Although gravely woundtd, his courageous 
action prevented injury or death to fellow patroi members. The following year, Presi- 
dent Dwight D. Eisenhower presented the Medal of Honor to the Detroit, Michigan 
Marine for his "daring initiative and great personal valor." 


Operations in West Korea 

degree. Division roads were badly damaged but not trenches and 
bunkers, strengthened as a result of the experience with the July 
floods. High waters made the ferry inoperable at the Honker Bridge 
site and also washed out Widgeon Bridge, where the Imjin crested 
to 42.5 feet. If the sudden flash floods wreaked havoc with some 
of the Marine division installations, the Chinese were the recipients 
of similar disfavors; intelligence indicated that damage to the CCF 
frontline positions was even more severe than to the JAMESTOWN 
defenses. 4 

The end of August saw the relief of General Selden as Com- 
manding General, 1st Marine Division. He was succeeded on the 
29th by Major General Edwin A. Pollock. A brief ceremony at divi- 
sion headquarters, attended by senior officers of EUSAK and KMC, 
marked the event. Earlier that month, in recognition of his services 
to the Korean defense, President of the Republic of Korea, Syngman 
Rhee, had awarded General Selden the Order of Military Merit, 
Taiguk, the highest Korean award. 

The new division commander, General Pollock 5 had commanded 
the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina just prior 
to his Korean tour. He had more than 30 years of military experi- 
ence. During World War II, he had participated in no fewer than 
five major campaigns in the Pacific, including the first at Guadalcanal, 
where he earned a Navy Cross, and one of the war's most costly 
battles, Iwo Jima. Following the war, he had served at Marine Corps 
Schools, Quantico, in command and staff assignments, and later at 
Headquarters Marine Corps where in July 1949, he had received 
his first star. 

Early September Outpost Clashes 6 

The new division commander shortly received a first-hand demon- 
stration of the ferocity and persistence of the Chinese Communists 
opposite his division. On 4 September, the enemy suddenly stepped 
up his activities which had recently been limited to sporadic probes 

* IstMarDiv PIR 669, dtd 25 Aug 52. 

5 Divlnfo, HQMC, Biography of MajGen Edwin A. Pollock, Jan 56, rev. 

''Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv, 
IstMar, 5thMar, 2/1, 3/1, 2/5, 3/5 ComdDs, Sep 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 188-189, 
dtd 6-7 Sep 52. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


and occasional artillery fire against Bunker Hill. At 2030 that date 
Captain Moak, E/2/1, commanding officer at the Bunker outpost, 
reported that an artillery preparation was falling on his positions. 
Ten minutes later he radioed 3/1 7 that an enemy platoon was vigor- 
ously probing his right flank. When Company E Marines returned 
a heavy volume of small arms fire, the enemy retired. 

This Chinese withdrawal was only temporary, for the initial probe 
proved the forerunner of more serious activity. Again at 0100 on 
5 September a heavy deluge of Chinese mortar and artillery began 
raining on Hill 122. The intense preparation had apparently con- 
vinced the Chinese attacking force that they had eliminated 
resistance at the Marine outpost, for their soldiers walked upright 
toward Marine positions, without bothering to make any attempts at 
concealment. After discovering that a stout defense was still being 
maintained at Bunker, the Chinese again withdrew and reorganized. 

When they resumed the attack, the Chinese used considerably 
greater caution. This time, in addition to small arms, automatic 
weapons fire, and a hail of grenades, their assault was supported 
by artillery and mortars. The results of this concerted effort were 
not too rewarding, however. Assaults on the center of Hill 122 were 
repulsed and attempts to crack the left perimeter of Company E's 
defenses were even more speedily beaten back. A number of Chinese 
attempting to outflank the E/2/1 defenders inadvertently strayed 
too far to the right of the outpost and found themselves advancing 
against the MLR south of Hill 122. 

When jamestown forces engaged these wanderers by fire, the 
latter quickly realized their mistake and wheeled left for a hasty 
retreat. They immediately came under fire of their own troops, 
some of whom had meanwhile penetrated 60 yards into the extreme 
right of the Bunker positions. At this point, Captain Moak's Com- 
pany E launched a counterattack and restored its positions on the 
right. This action forced a general withdrawal of the Chinese force, 
which the Marines estimated at battalion strength. Lieutenant 
Colonel Sidney J. Altman s subsequently advised division headquarters 
that his men had killed 30 enemy soldiers and estimated that as 

7 Normally a component of the 2d Battalion, Company E had been attached to the 
3d Battalion on 1 September when the company took over the Bunker Hill outpost. The 
relieved Company H was then attached to 2/1, the reserve battalion, from 1-3 September. 

8 On 20 August Lieutenant Colonel Altman became the commander of 3/l in relief 
of Lieutenant Colonel Armitage. 


Operations in West Korea 

many as 305 were probably wounded. This high rate of casualties 
was attributed, in part, to the enemy's mistaken sense of direction, 
their direct walking approach which had made them easy standing 
targets, and to the box-me-in artillery fires supporting the defenders. 
Marine losses were 12 killed and 40 wounded, caused mostly by 
Chinese mortars and artillery. 

Although the left battalion area was the center of attention in the 
1st Marines line early on 5 September, the far right sector was not 
entirely neglected either. Five minutes after their initial attack on 
Bunker, other Chinese units also lunged at the Hill 48A outpost, 
Stromboli. An estimated reinforced platoon, supported by three 
active machine guns on Hill 104, 850 yards to the north, employed 
submachine guns, rifles, and grenades in their attack. This battle 
lasted for nearly two hours, until the Chinese soldiers withdrew at 
0240. There were no Marine losses. No tally or estimate was made 
on the number of enemy KIA or WIA. It was presumed that some 
of the Communists did become casualties since the three machine 
guns that had been chattering away to support the attacker's ground 
action suddenly went silent after Marines called down mortar and 
artillery fire on the Hill 104 positions. 

The probes of 1st Marines positions at Bunker Hill and, to a 
lesser degree, at Stromboli were repeated in the 5th Marines right 
regimental sector. At almost exactly the same time Colonel Eustace 
R. Smoak's regiment 9 was struck at five of its forward outposts. In 
the case of OP Gary, on the right, the enemy merely shelled the 
position for 40 minutes. Against the four other outposts, known as 
Allen, Bruce, Clarence, and Felix, the Chinese employed both fire and 
asault troops. (See Map 12.) At Felix the action had begun at 
0130, a half hour later than at the adjacent outposts. The difference 
was probably due to a C/l/5 ambush 10 which had engaged an 
enemy force operating between Donald and Felix. After a brief five 
minute fire fight the Marines broke off the action, pulling back to 
Felix. The other three outposts, clustered to the left of the 3/5 
sector, received the brunt of the enemy thrust which lasted for 
an hour and 20 minutes before the Communists withdrew. 

11 Colonel Smoak had relieved Colonel Culhane on 15 August. 

1,1 Although l/5 (Lieutenant Colonel Alexander W. Gentleman) was the regimental 
reserve at this time, the regiment had assigned one company to 2/5, manning the right 


Operations in West Korea 

Employing a squad against both Allen and Clarence, and sending 
a reinforced company against Bruce, the enemy alternately assaulted 
and shelled the positions until 0420, after which the Communist units 
policed the battlefield for casualties and withdrew to the north. 

Although there was no official estimate of enemy losses, one 
Marine at outpost Bruce was credited with inflicting approximately 
200 casualties by fire from two machine guns, a carbine, and 
grenades. He was Private First Class Alford L. McLaughlin, of 
1/3/5, who was later to receive the Medal of Honor for "con- 
spicuous gallantry and intrepidity." Another Marine from the same 
company was posthumously awarded the medal. Private First Class 
Fernando L. Garcia, although gravely wounded, had thrown himself 
on a hostile grenade to save the life of his platoon sergeant during 
the Chinese rush to take OP Bruce. 

At daybreak the 1/3/5 defenders at Bruce, commanded by Captain 
Edward Y. Holt, Jr., were confronted by an almost unbelievable 
scene of destruction. All of the bunkers on the forward side of the 
hill had been destroyed by Chinese mortar and artillery; on the 
reverse slope, only two had escaped ruination. Marine losses were 
32 dead and wounded. 11 To restore the position the 3/5 commander, 
Lieutenant Colonel Oscar T. Jensen, Jr., directed replacements for- 
ward immediately. Carrying emergency supplies, including building 
materials, the relief element reached Bruce about 1000. Evacuation 
of casualties was the first task and at 1045 the relieved detail was 
on its way back to the MLR. Later that day a supply party reached 
the outpost, having been temporarily delayed by Chinese interdicting 

Reinforcement of Bruce and the repair of its defenses were consid- 
erably slowed by the continuous rain of enemy projectiles during 
daylight. Marine and USAF pilots bombed and napalmed enemy 
bunkers and troops north of Jamestown in the 5th Marines sector. 
Ten air strikes were executed in support of the 5th Marines that day. 

11 Still another award of the Medal of Honor was to come out of the action that 
ended on 5 September. Hospitalman Third Class Edward C. Benfold had ministered 
aid to several wounded Marines and was searching for others who needed medical at- 
tention when he saw two wounded Marines in a shell crater. Just as he neared its edge 
two grenades fell into it and two Chinese prepared to assault the Marines. "Picking up 
a grenade in each hand, Benfold leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the 
onrushing hostile soldiers, pushing the grenades against their chests and killing both. 
. . . He gallantly gave his life for his country." Medal of Honor citation, case of Hos- 
pital Corpsman Third Class Edward C. Benfold, USN, 4168234. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


Early on 6 September, 10 minutes after midnight, long-range 
machine gun fire, buttressed by artillery and mortars, hit outpost 
Bruce. After 35 minutes the firing subsided, but again at 0305 the 
outpost experienced a heavy rate of incoming. At about this time, the 
Communist soldiers massed for an assault on the battered position. 
Marine defenders called down the artillery box, and the Chinese 

That evening, at 1915, the outpost commander reported that the 
Chinese had again resumed a steady shelling of the position. The 
bombardment continued for an hour. After these heavy preparatory 
fires, a wave of enemy infantry began scrambling up the sides of 
Bruce. At the same time, outpost Allen to the left came under long- 
range fire from enemy strongholds to the west and north. After the 
Chinese made their initial rush against Bruce, a second and third 
attack fared no better. Each was met and repulsed by the 5th Marines. 

After the third abortive attack, a period of deathly stillness 
descended upon the contested hill. Occasionally, an enemy mortar 
round found its mark among the scattered, splintered bunker timbers 
and the caved-in trenches, which connected the sandbag and lumber 
positions. At 0145 on the 7th, the Chinese interrupted the uneasy 
peace that had settled upon Bruce with a brief, heavy preparatory fire. 

Exactly an hour later, an estimated two Chinese companies 
advanced up the forward slopes, using demolitions to destroy any 
friendly bunkers their artillery and mortar had not earlier com- 
pletely wrecked. By the time this newest assault had raged for 30 
minutes, nearly every 3/5 defender had become a casualty. Still the 
Marines refused to give ground, dealing first with the forward 
slope assault by the Chinese and later with those who attempted 
to envelop the Marines on the reverse side. On the MLR Marines 
first observed enemy flares falling between outpost Bruce and Line 
jamestown. Soon thereafter the Chinese policed the battlefield. By 
0400 the Communists retired, and the fight for this key outpost had 
ended in failure. 

During the 51-hour siege of Outpost Bruce, 19 Marines had been 
killed and 38 wounded. At the adjacent 5th Marines outposts, addi- 
tional losses were 5 killed and 32 wounded. More than 200 enemy 
dead were counted. During the last eight hours of the vicious, 
close-in fighting at Bruce, it was estimated that another 200 Chinese 
had been wounded. 


O Outposts 

Position established by enemy 
• Squad 

I Company 

(Division Left) 

5-7 September 1952 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


The Korean Marines, holding down the western flank of the three 
mainland regimental sectors in the 1st Marine Division line, also 
received a share of the enemy's attention. At dusk on 5 September, 
Chinese barrages began to smash Outpost 37, 12 the first of a trio of 
positions that would merit hostile attention for the next 22 hours. 
Throughout the following day the Chinese continued their mortar 
and artillery fire against Outposts 37 and 36, and the regimental 
observation post located on Hill 155 (also called Hill 167) to the 
rear of the MLR. (See Map 13.) The heaviest enemy fire was 
directed against OP 36, a small rise in the low land terrain midway 
between the Sachon River, on the west and the Munsan-ni-Kaesong 
rail line, 600 yards to the east. 

At 1605 a 50-round barrage struck OP 36. After this harassing 
fire there was a lull until 1810 when Chinese artillery and mortars 
again resumed a steady pounding of the three positions. One hour 
later enemy soldiers hit both outposts. Twice the attacking company 
assaulted OP 37 but neither effort represented, in the view of the 
defenders, a serious attempt at capture. Less than a mile south at 
OP 36, however, the enemy motive appeared to be quite different. 

Crossing the Sachon just north of the Freedom Gate Bridge (also 
known as the highway bridge), the Communist infantry moved to 
assault positions on the west, north, and northeast sides of the out- 
post. At 1910, the Chinese began their first rush. It was repulsed, as 
was a second one. Another artillery barrage, joined this time by tank 
fire, preceded the third attempt. At this point communications went 
out at the besieged outpost. At 2150, a squad leader from OP 36 
reached the 10th Company CP to report that his position had fallen. 
In 30 minutes a communications link was re-established with the 
outpost. The defending Koreans reported that although enemy troops 
had overrun much of the hill, they had subsequently withdrawn, 
apparently because their losses had been so heavy. 

Casualties and damage were severe. The Korean regiment esti- 
mated that 110 enemy had been killed or wounded. An early morn- 
ing KMC reconnaissance patrol counted 33 dead Chinese in the 
vicinity of OP 36. The attacking force had also left behind much 
equipment, including more than 100 grenades and several automatic 

12 Contemporary records of the 1st KMC Regiment for 1952-1953 identify this as 
Outpost 37. Current reviewer comments refer to this hill as OP 67. LtCol Kim Yong 
Kyu, ROKMC, ltr to CMC, HQMC, dtd 5 Jul 67. 


Operations in West Korea 

weapons. No papers were found on the dead Communist soldiers, 
but many propaganda leaflets had been dropped around the outpost. 
Korean Marine losses at OP 36 were nine killed and seven wounded. 
At OP 37 there were four casualties; at the regimental CP, one 
Korean and two U.S. Marines had been killed by enemy artillery. 
Chinese incoming, estimated at 2,500 rounds during the two actions, 
had also caused major damage to part of the OP 36 defenses, but 
inflicted less harm to the other two positions. Repairs were begun 
before daylight. 

Korean COPS Hit Again 13 

After the stepped-up enemy ground activity in early September, both 
Chinese and Marine frontline units resumed their earlier pattern of 
combat patrols, probes, and ambushes. Possession of Bunker Hill 
remained the immediate objective of the enemy and his activities in 
the middle of the Marine line were directed to this goal. Once again 
on 9 September a marauding Chinese platoon, employing grenades 
and submachine guns, sounded out the Bunker defenses, now manned 
by G/3/1 (Captain William F. Whitbeck, Jr.). After a tentative 
investigation, the enemy withdrew. That same day, expanded patrol 
and raiding activities were undertaken by Marine line battalions. 

These sharply increased offensive measures resulted, in part, from 
the Communist interest, as evinced during the summer truce negoti- 
ations, in certain forward positions held by UNC units. On 7 Sep- 
tember, the CG, I Corps had alerted his division commanders to 
the fact that the enemy "may attempt to seize and hold certain key 
terrain features . . . over which there was extensive disagreement 
during [the 1952 summer truce] negotiations for the present line of 
demarcation." 14 Since much of the critical land was in his sector, 
Major General Kendall further warned his division commanders "to 
take the necessary action within your means to hold all terrain now 
occupied by your divisions." 15 Critical terrain features in the 1st 
Marine Division area of responsibility were Bunker Hill and the 

13 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Sep 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 195-202, dtd 13-20 Sep 52. 

14 1st MarDiv ComdD, Sep 52, App. I, # 8. 
16 Ibid. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


height on which COP Bruce had been established (Hill 148), in 
the center and right regimental sectors respectively. 

Two days later, General Pollock amplified this directive by under- 
scoring the necessity for holding these two positions, plus eight more 
he considered vital for sound tactical defense. These additional posi- 
tions, from west to east, were Hills 86 and 37 in the KMC sector; 
Hills 56 and 48A in the center sector; and the outposts then known 
as Allen, Clarence, Felix, and Jill, all the responsibility of the right 
regiment. 10 

Although the eastern part of the division main line thus contained 
at this time more key hills than any other Marine sector, much of 
the increase in Marine patrol and ambush activity took place in 
No-Man's-Land forward of the middle frontline regiment. Of the 
two jamestown sectors manned by U.S. Marines, the one in the 
center of the division area offered better ground for infantry 

On the divisional western flank, the Korean Marines conducted 
frequent infantry-tank patrols during the second and third weeks of 
September, but the enemy opposite the KMCs initiated little ground 
activity. Instead, the Chinese relied upon their supporting weapons 
to provide the contact. For a seven-day period ending 19 September, 
a total of 2,375 enemy rounds had fallen in that regimental sector, 
an average of 339 per day. Nearly a third had been in the vicinity 
of Hill 36. 

Before sunrise on the 19th, a Chinese infantry company had 
crossed the Sachon in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. Once on the 
east side, the enemy soldiers concealed themselves in caves and holes, 
remaining there until dusk. Then, when they came out of hiding, the 
Communists held a briefing and organized themselves into three 
attack groups. As these advance infantry elements approached their 
objective, OP 36, other reinforcing units were prepared to seize 
OP 37, to the east, and OPs 33 and 31, to the south. Artillery and 
mortar preparation supported these diversionary attacks. 

The main assault was accompanied by even heavier shelling. As 
the three assault units reached the bottom of the hill at OP 36, 

10 When the 7th Marines took over this sector from the 5th in early September, the 
names changed to Carson, Vegas, Detroit, and Seattle respectively. COP Bruce was also 
redesignated as Reno. Since the old names of the outposts were well known to the 
enemy, for purposes of security it was decided to identify them differently. U.S. cities 
were selected. 


Operations in West Korea 

artillery, mortars, and tanks had fired more than 400 rounds. 
Approaching from the north, east, and west, the Chinese scrambled 
up the hill, gaining control of the wrecked defenses by 2000. 
Sporadic exchanges of fire lasted until nearly midnight. At 0115 the 
Korean Marines attempted to retake the hill. The counterattack was 
cut short, however, upon discovery of another enemy unit moving 
towards the outpost and then only one-half mile away. Three hours 
later the enemy came back in strength when a CCF platoon success- 
fully overthrew the outpost at 0520. This new assault occurred 
without any warning and was so swiftly executed that a number of 
the KMC defenders found themselves encircled and trapped at their 
posts. Most managed to escape, but several were captured and later 
evacuated when the Chinese removed their own battle casualties. 

Another attempt to regain the outpost was made by the Koreans 
at 1400, following artillery preparation and two air strikes. Three 
Marine attack squadrons, VMAs-323, -121, and -212 blasted the 
Chinese on the front slope of OP 36. The contour of the far side 
of the hill had provided the enemy a defiladed position and safety 
from 1st Marine Division organic weapons. But the MAG-12 air 
sorties, destroying many CCF automatic weapons and mortars and 
breaking up a company strongpoint, helped the Koreans counter- 
attack and overrun the dazed defenders. Two KMC platoons, sup- 
ported by artillery, mortar, and tank fire, then carried the OP after 
overcoming token Chinese resistance. After the enemy vacated OP 36, 
he still continued to remain in the low area to the northwest, close 
to the east side of the Sachon River. No serious attempt was made 
by the enemy to occupy the position for the rest of the month. 

The 20-hour clash for control of OP 36 was believed to have 
developed from the Chinese ambition to occupy the position and 
thereby eliminate the harassing fires from Hill 36 that had struck 
CCF mainline troops. The 19-20 September attempts to wrest the 
outpost from Korean control resulted in an estimated 150 Chinese 
casualties, including 20 counted dead. KMC losses were placed at 
16 killed, 47 wounded, and 6 missing. 

On the day that the second September battle for OP 36 had ended, 
the Commandant of the Marine Corps had also just concluded his 
three-day visit and inspection of General Pollock's troops. Visiting 
every battalion in the division, General Shepherd was impressed by 
the morale and proficiency of the Marines, including the attached 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


1st KMC Regiment. During his visit to Korea, the Marine Corps 
Commandant was also presented the Order of Military Merit, Taiguk, 
by President Rhee. General Shepherd ended his Korean battlefront 
visit after a two-day inspection of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing units 
commanded by Major General Jerome (he had received his second 
star on 6 August) . 

More Enemy Assaults in Late September" 

Even though the enemy had concentrated his strongest infantry attack 
in late September against the Korean Marines, his most frequent 
probes were launched against center regimental positions held by 
Colonel Layer's 1st Marines. Here the enemy was more consistent 
in conducting his defense. Chinese troops doggedly held on to the 
northern slopes of several Marine outposts, notably Hills 124 and 
122. In this center regimental sector, the enemy initiated several 
attacks, the most significant of these occurring on the 20t:h. 

This action against the left sector manned by 2/1 centered about 
Hill 124, where Lieutenant Colonel Batterton's battalion had estab- 
lished a 24-hour, squad-size outpost three days earlier. At 0345, 
Marines on Hill 124 observed two green flares fired from a hill about 
1,100 yards to their front. At the same time the men of 2/1 observed 
numerous figures moving about downhill from their own position. 
It soon became evident that four enemy groups were converging on 
Hill 124 and preparing to assault the Marine defenses which shortly 
came under fire from enemy submachine guns and rifles. The main 
probe was a frontal assault against Batterton's men; it was made by 
about 20 Chinese and lasted only five minutes. Afterwards, all four 
assault groups withdrew but continued firing intermittently at the 
Marine squad. Nearly every Marine on the hill suffered wounds, 
most of these minor. Enemy losses for the action were placed at 22. 

In this same sector Marines in late September attacked the northern 
slope of Hill 122, where the enemy still maintained a foothold. The 
proximity of Marine defenses at Bunker Hill to enemy positions, 
separated in some places by as little as 30 yards, was the cause of 

17 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv, 
IstMar, 7thMar, 2/1 ComdDs, Sep 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

frequent contact and clashes. Marines raided the enemy side of 
Bunker, using demolitions and portable flamethrowers to destroy 
trenches and bunkers, and their occupants. Tanks and artillery 
assisted in these brief offensive actions, usually undertaken at night. 
Flares were used frequently to aid in identifying and striking targets 
and in assessing the results. 

It became routine during the last days of September for the Chinese 
to probe the Marine defenses at the Hills 124-122 axis. There did not 
appear to be a serious or determined assault to take either outpost, 
however. The Marines considered the infantry probes as just another 
form of harassment, although perhaps more personal and direct 
than the Chinese shelling, which inflicted daily losses. On the divi- 
sion right, Colonel Moore's 7th Marines, which had moved into this 
sector on 7 September, found enemy activities about the same. Artil- 
lery rounds caused the greatest number of casualties, although these 
attacks were not particularly spirited. Many enemy contacts occurred 
during the Marine combat patrols that largely characterized front- 
line operations at the end of September. 

Chinese Intensify Their Outpost Attacks 1 * 

With the beginning of October, the 1st Marine Division became 
aware of certain changes that were occurring to its front. In the 
center sector, for the first time in two weeks there was no significant 
enemy ground activity, yet across the entire Marine front there 
was a build-up of enemy shelling. Part of the increased bombardment 
was directed at Hill 86 in the KMC sector, one of the positions 
recently cited as integral to the defense line in this area. Beginning 
at 2000 on 1 October, the Chinese broadcast a warning that they 
would knock down the outpost bunkers there unless the Korean 
Marines surrendered. When the KMCs manning the position did not, 
of course, surrender in reaction to this blatant propaganda tactic, 
the Chinese began showering Hill 86 with artillery rounds. During 
the next 20 hours, 145 rounds fell on and around the outpost. This 

18 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: FMFPac, 
IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52; IstMarDiv ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 1-7 
Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRS 706-713, dtd 1-8 Oct 52; IstMar, 5thMar, 7thMar, llthMar, 
3/1, 1/7, 2/7, 3/7 ComdDs, Oct 52; KMC Regt UnitRpts 214-220, dtd 2-8 Oct. 52. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


incident marked the first time that the Chinese mainline forces had 
carried out an announced threat. 

This type of operational tactic — first to warn, then to carry out 
the threat — was not, however, the reason for the increased Chinese 
shelling. Rather, as it turned out, the enemy was about to embark 
on a series of limited objective attacks against the division flanks, 
starting first with major outposts guarding the most critical terrain 
on the MLR. The artillery and mortar fire of the 1st had been but an 
initial step. At 1830 on 2 October, Communist direct fire weapons 
opened up from an area 2,800 yards northwest of OP 36, lashing all 
the KMC outposts within range. A tank platoon, dispatched to coun- 
ter the fire, returned at 1915 without having located the hostile em- 
placements. Shortly after the tanks returned, an extremely heavy artil- 
lery barrage again fell upon all of the KMC regimental outposts. Ten 
minutes later, seemingly on the signal of one red and one green 
flare, the enemy guns lifted their preparatory fires to permit an 
infantry attack. The ground action simultaneously struck. OPs 37, 
36, and 86, the forward positions closest to the Sachon River. 

At OP 37, the defending Korean Marine platoon fought valiantly 
for more than an hour against the assault of two enemy platoons, 
each of which required a company-size reinforcement before the 
Korean Marines were finally ousted. Although temporarily dislodged, 
they reorganized at the base of the position for a counterattack. Two 
counterattacks were made the next day, the second one carrying the 
Koreans to the top of the hill. Fierce enemy mortar and artillery 
shelling forced them to seek the shelter of the reverse slope before 
again renewing their assault. On 4-5 October, the outpost changed 
hands four times. At 1340 on the latter date, a heavy enemy artillery 
and ground attack compelled the KMCs to abandon their ravaged 
outpost; this withdrawal ended friendly control of OP 37 for the 
rest of the month. 

Nearby OP 36 was also lost. In the course of the night the Korean 
Marines on OP 36 turned back two Communist assaults, but fell 
under the weight of the third. By sunup on 3 October, the exhausted 
Korean Marines were forced to give ground; the Chinese immedi- 
ately occupied OP 36 and held it. 

One more KMC outpost was to fall during the first week. OP 86 
guarded the southwestern two-thirds of the regimental sector and 
freuently was the target of artillery shelling and ground attacks. 


Operations in West Korea 

This position was also the most distant from the main line and the 
closest to the Sachon River. 

The heaviest Communist attack on 2 October was against the 
KMC platoons defending Hill 86. Nearly a battalion of Chinese 
took part in this action, finally overpowering the outpost just before 
midnight. The defenders withdrew south to the bottom of the 
hill, where they were comparatively safe from enemy fire. Resting, 
receiving reinforcements, and regrouping during the early morning 
hours of the 3d, the Korean Marine force observed friendly artillery 
and air pound the outpost preparatory to their counterattack. It was 
made at 1015 and succeeded, after two hours fighting, in routing 
the Chinese from the outpost. 

While the enemy was counteracting the ground loss with artillery 
and mortars, Marine air flushed out the Chinese, who had retreated 
only a short distance from the outpost. From atop the hill, Korean 
Marines witnessed many of the enemy hurriedly leaving the area 
under attack. This scattering of the enemy force prevented the 
Chinese from launching an immediate counterattack for control of 
OP 86 and gave the Korean Marines additional time in which to pre- 
pare their defenses. At 2200 on 6 October, an enemy force of undeter- 
mined size assaulted the position and wrested it from the Koreans 
before the end of the day. Early the next morning a KMC counter- 
attack was successful, but at 0640 the Koreans were again compelled 
to withdraw, due to devastating blows from Chinese artillery. Loss 
of the third key outpost during the first week of October, ended for 
a time the flare-up of outpost fighting in the left regimental sector 
of the division front. 

The middle part of the MLR, held in early October by the 1st 
Marines, received the least enemy attention in this period. Although 
frequent contacts were made with the enemy during the first part 
of the month, no outposts were lost. Most of the action was minor, 
i.e., patrol engagements and Communist probes centered around 
Bunker Hill and Hill 124. Late on 5 October, a combat patrol from 
H/3/l became involved in the most important ground action in 
Colonel Layer's area during early October. These Marines were 
surprised by a larger Chinese force lying in wait. The ambushers 
held their fire until the Marine combat patrol had cleared a small 
hilltop. At 2230, after a 20-minute fire fight, the patrol withdrew 
to the reverse slope of the rise, called in 81mm mortar fire, then 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 163 

broke contact, and returned to the MLR. There were 4 Marine casu- 
alties, and by count, 13 dead Chinese. 

By far the greatest number of personal losses at this time occurred 
in the right area held by the 7th Marines, where the Chinese began 
a series of limited objective attacks against outposts guarding the 
division right flank. These offensives to obtain critical terrain in this 
sector, and others manned by the 1st Marine Division, would continue 
intermittently right up to the brink of the cease-fire, in July 1953. 

In early October, Colonel Moore's troops manned nine permanent 
combat outposts. (See Map 14.) Seven of these had been taken over 
when the regiment relieved the 5th Marines in September. Two 
additional ones — Frisco and Verdun — had been established by the 7th 
Marines on the 14th and 26th, respectively. Of these nine forward 
positions, the Communists chose to concentrate on four, which formed 
a diagonal line roughly paralleling the center sector of the MLR at 
an average distance of about 450 yards. This quartet — Detroit, Frisco, 
Seattle, and Warsaw — together with Verdun, 19 at the 1st Common- 
wealth boundary, comprised the easternmost permanent outposts of 
the division. The first four positions were, on the average, slightly 
lower in elevation than the COPs in the regimental area to the west. 

The frontline contest began with little forewarning other than a 
slight increase in enemy artillery and machine gun fire against Frisco 
and a light probe against Detroit. At 1836 on 2 October, the Com- 
munists launched a heavy artillery and mortar barrage against Seattle 
and Warsaw, and that part of the MLR nearest Seattle. Exactly one 
hour later, the preparation on the outposts lifted, permitting the 
enemy attack force to strike. Not less than a company assaulted the 
reinforced platoon on Warsaw, while a squad moved against the 
Seattle defenders. Warsaw fell in about 45 minutes, 20 Seattle held 
out five minutes longer. 

'''The outpost at the extreme right flank was given the name "Verdun" because of 
its World War I connotation of "They shall not pass." Col. Leo J. Dulacki Itr to Hd, 
HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 2 Jun 67, hereafter Dulacki Itr. 

-" During the latter stage of the fight for Warsaw, a Chinese soldier tossed a grenade 
into a bunker shared by five Marines. Private Jack W. Kelso, of 1/3/7, quickly picked 
up the missile and ran outside with it. As he was throwing the grenade back to the 
Chinese, it went off in his hand. Disregarding his wounds, the Marine moved back in- 
side the shelter, directed the other four to return to the MLR. and went oustide to 
cover their exit. As he was firing at the advancing Chinese soldiers, Private Kelso was 
hit several times by enemy bullets. His "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk 
of his life" was later recognized in the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


Immediately, plans for the recapture of both were made. At 2047, 
Captain John H. Thomas dispatched a platoon from his company, 
1/3/7, from the MLR to counterattack Warsaw. The platoon quickly 
took the position, for the enemy had withdrawn. At Seattle, the result 
was different. On 3 October, two squads from Company I departed 
JAMESTOWN at 0340, but came under enemy artillery fire en route 
to the objective. The squads worked their way forward nevertheless, 
but were unable to take the outpost. Captain Thomas then recalled 
the force, which reached JAMESTOWN at dawn. Later that day, just 
before dusk, air and artillery placed a smoke screen on Seattle while 
two squads advanced toward the outpost. When the counterattack 
met stiff resistance, a squad-size reinforcement 21 was sent from 
the MLR. Together the three units attempted to retake the position, 
but were forced to pull back because of heavy casualties. As the 
infantry again regrouped, Lieutenant Colonel Bert Davis, Jr.'s 2/11 
fired preparatory barrages on the Chinese occupying Seattle. At 2225 
the Marines assaulted the outpost again; as before, overpowering 
Chinese artillery and grenades inflicted such high casualties that the 
counterattackers were compelled to withdraw. 

By this time, action at the two outposts had resulted in 101 Marine 
casualties, including 13 killed. By sundown on 3 October, the regi- 
ment had been forced off the two COPs and had been able to retake 
only one of them. Against Warsaw, the one that the Marines had 
recaptured, the Chinese immediately launched a counterattack. At 
0145 on 4 October a platoon struck the position. This time the 
Warsaw garrison held, inflicting losses on the CCF and receiving 
none. The Chinese made an unsuccessful attempt against Frisco at 
2300 on 5 October, when a squad attempted to drive the Marines 
from the outpost. 

The enemy's repeated attacks and apparent determination to seize 
commanding terrain, plus the heavy casualties suffered by 3/7, led 
the 7th Marines to reinforce its MLR at 1200 on 5 October. At this 
time the right battalion sector then held by 3/7, was split into two 
sectors and the regimental reserve, 1/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Leo J. 
Dulacki) took over the far right of the 3/7 line, assuming respon- 

21 This squad was from Company A (Captain Frederick C. McLaughlin), which came 
under the operational control of 3/7 at 1130 on 3 October, relieving Company C (Cap- 
tain Paul B. Byrum). The latter company had r?ported to the 3d Battalion from 
regimental reserve at 2130 the previous day. Company D was sent immediately to re- 
inforce the hard-pressed Company I. 


Operations in West Korea 

sibility for Warsaw and Verdun. 22 The 7th Marines thus had all 
three of its battalions on line with the regimental front manned, from 
the left, by 2/7, 3/7, and 1/7. 

During the next 30 hours, the Communists launched a series of 
strong probing actions against the regimental outposts of the 7th 
Marines. Although the numerical strength used in these widespread 
limited objective attacks did not exceed that employed in previous 
large-scale outpost offensives, the scope of the operation on 6 and 7 
October and the well-coordinated attacks indicated careful and 
detailed planning. Each move against the five outposts and two MLR 
positions attacked was preceded by unusually close attention to 
artillery and mortar preparation. This was to a degree unprecedented 
even when measured against those massive concentrations that had 
characterized Communist operations since the Chinese intervention 
in the war late in 1950. 

Prior to the Communist general attack, the Marines made another 
attempt to retake Seattle. Leaving Jamestown at 0600 on 6 October, 
a C/l/7 reinforced platoon was halted by solid resistance in the 
form of exploding artillery and mortar rounds. The forces returned 
to the MLR, reorganized, and jumped off again. At 0815, a two- 
squad reinforcement was dispatched from the main line. Meanwhile, 
the enemy, estimated at platoon reinforced strength, doubled his 
garrison, using troops from his outpost line. By 0900, a heavy fire 
fight was in progress, supported by artillery and mortars on both 
sides. Marines called on air in support of the attack, but the com- 
bined air and infantry action was unable to penetrate enemy defenses. 
Finally, at 1100, after five hours of close heavy fighting, the Marines 
broke contact and retired, bringing with them 12 dead and 44 
wounded. Estimates of enemy losses totaled 71. 

That evening, at dusk, artillery and mortar fire began falling on 
outpost positions across the entire regimental front and at two loca- 
tions on the MLR. At the same time an estimated Chinese reinforced 
battalion in a coordinated effort advanced toward the Marine line 
and at 1930 assaulted the seven positions that had just been under 
artillery preparation. By midnight an estimated 4,300 rounds of 
artillery fire and 104 rounds of counterbattery fire had fallen on 
Marine positions. In the regimental left manned by 2/7 (Lieutenant 

22 At the same time one company, 1/3/7, became the regimental reserve, having been 
relieved on the MLR at 1500 the previous day by A/l/7. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


Colonel Caputo) the attacks appeared to be more of a diversion — 
merely probes by small units, which showed little inclination to press 
the attack. Carson, the most western COP held by the regiment, 
reported that the enemy soldiers withdrew at 2050. Two hours 
later Reno, the next outpost to the east, radioed to the MLR that the 
Chinese had just ceased their attacks at that forward post. A total 
of 12 Marines were wounded in these two actions. 

On the far right, in Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's sector, a rein- 
forced CCF platoon poured over the Warsaw defenses at 1930. 
Immediately the outpost Marines called for the friendly artillery 
box. As these protective fires were being delivered all communication 
at the outpost was severed by hostile fire. Enemy artillery continued 
at a heavy rate. By 2000, however, communication was reestablished 
between the COP and MLR. The first message from the besieged 
outpost was a request for more artillery. With additional fire support 
and continued stiff outpost resistance, the Chinese at 2055 relin- 
quished their quest to regain Warsaw. 

The enemy's most determined assaults on the night of 6-7 October 
were made upon a pair of outposts, Detroit and Frisco, manned by 
the middle battalion, 3/7 (Lieutenant Colonel Gerald F. Russell). 
Two jamestown areas in this sector were also attacked, but only 
briefly. The assault against the outposts was executed by a Chinese 
battalion which sent one company against Detroit and another 
against Frisco, east of Detroit. Both outposts were manned by two 
squads of Marines. 

At Detroit, the Company G Marines reported that the initial attack 
made at 1940 on 6 October by a Chinese company had been rebuffed. 
The enemy did succeed, however, in advancing to the outpost trench- 
line. Strong defensive fires prevented him from exploiting this initial 
gain by occupying any of the bunkers, and the attackers were forced 
to pull back. After regrouping, the Chinese returned at 2100 and 
again were able to secure a foothold at the main trench. 

Marine artillery assisted the outpost defenders in repulsing this 
new attack, but not before Chinese interdictory fires had disrupted 
all communications between the COP and its MLR support company. 
Some Chinese had also moved south in the vicinity of the MLR, 
but these attacks were neither persistent nor heavily supported. At 
2115 the last of the enemy intruders had withdrawn from the MLR. 
At about this same time, 3/7 heard Detroit request overhead VT 


Operations in West Korea 

fires, but shortly after this the battalion again lost contact with the 

Two squads were then sent out to reinforce the position. They 
were stopped, however, by heavy Chinese artillery barrages. At the 
outpost, Marine artillery fires had forced the Chinese to retreat, but 
at 0015 the enemy reappeared at the trenchline. The artillery regi- 
ment once again applied the overhead fire remedy, but with less 
success — the Chinese, neither retreating nor advancing, took cover 
in the trenches. During the long night, attempts to reestablish com- 
munications with Detroit had proved fruitless, although battalion 
radio operators reported that they had heard Chinese language 
coming over one of the Marine radio nets used by the COP. A six- 
man reconnaissance detail was sent forward to investigate. It returned 
at 0355 with the information that Detroit was now held by the 
enemy. Two wounded Marines had escaped; the rest of the Detroit 
garrison had fallen to the enemy. At 0630 the Marines withdrew 
after heavy fighting that had lasted more than 10 hours. 

During the earlier part of the night, while the battle for outpost 
control raged at Detroit, reinforcements had also been dispatched 
to Frisco to help stabilize the situation at this adjacent Company 
H/3/7 outpost. Like Detroit, it had been attacked by a Chinese 
company, beginning about 2000. An hour and a half later some of 
the enemy had made their way into the trenchline, but were repulsed 
with the help of friendly artillery VT. Shortly after midnight the 
enemy again probed Frisco and reached the trenchline. At 0115, 
two squads jumped off from jamestown, but a rain of Chinese 
artillery interrupted their progress. Throughout the early morning 
hours of 7 October, Company H and I units were sent out from 
the MLR to buttress the Frisco defense and stem the enemy attack. 
At 0510, a reinforced platoon from the reserve company was sent 
to renew the counterattack. It was this Company I unit that finally 
restored control of the COP to the Marines. 23 Another reinforcing 

23 During the predawn attempt to retake Frisco on 7 October, Staff Sergeant Lewis 
G. Watkins, 1/3/7, although already wounded, led his rifle platoon in the assault 
against Frisco. When an enemy machine gun impeded their progress, Staff Sergeant 
Watkins grabbed a wounded man's automatic rifle to help get the assault moving for- 
ward again. At that instant, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the Marines. Staff 
Sergeant Watkins immediately seized it. Just as he was about to hurl it away it ex- 
ploded in his hand. The grenade took the sergeant's life but he had saved his fellow 
Marines. For his bravery Staff Sergeant Watkins was posthumously awarded the Medal 
of Honor. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


platoon arrived at the outpost just as the Marines there had evicted 
the remaining Chinese assault forces. At 0715, 7 October, Frisco 
was declared secure. 

Its precarious position, however, demanded either an investment 
of more outpost troops to retain possession of it or else its abandon- 
ment, in conjunction with other measures to neutralize loss of the 
position. At 1804 that day the latter course was instituted. The 7th 
Marines reported that the enemy had suffered an estimated 200 KIA 
and unknown WIA as a result of the bitterly contested outpost 
attacks on 6-7 October. Marine casualties were listed as 10 killed, 
22 missing, 105 wounded and evacuated, and 23 not-seriously 

In all, during the first week in October, the 1st Marine Division 
gave up six outposts, or forward positions, that had been sited on 
some of the commanding ground in the Marine area. On the division 
left, COPs 37, 36, and 86 were the ones most removed from the 
Korean MLR and thus easily susceptible to being overrun by the 
enemy at will and to his early reinforcement. 24 The division theorized 
that near winter and the subsequent freezing of the Sachon would 
facilitate the movement of Chinese troops and supplies across the 
river to new positions. The enemy was now able to operate patrols 
east of the river without interference. At the opposite side of the 
division MLR, on its right flank, Detroit, Frisco, and Seattle had 
been lost. By gaining this string of outposts, the enemy was better 
able to exert pressure against other Marine positions forward of the 
line and the critical ground on Jamestown. 

To counter this threat, General Pollock strengthened the outposts 
close to the MLR and increased his patrolling requirements. It was 
decided that in some cases the mission of the COP — that of providing 
early warning of impending attack and slowing it down — could be 
accomplished as effectively by using patrols and listening posts at 

By these activities, the Marines hoped to minimize the Chinese 
gains and prevent the launching of new attacks against either division 
COPs or jamestown. The serious situation on the outposts was 
compounded by existing political considerations, which prevented the 
Marines from initiating any real offensive campaigns. Moreover, any 

24 FMFPac, IstMarDiv Sum, Jul-Oct 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

hill taken was invariably backed up by a still higher one, controlled 
by the enemy. The key factor was not so much holding an individual 
outpost as it was to insure that the enemy was unable to penetrate 
the jamestown line. 

More pressure, More CAS, More Accomplishments 2 * 

Some of the enemy ground pressure against the outposts in September 
and October had been relieved by the increase in the number of air 
strikes received by the 1st Marine Division. De-emphasis of the Air 
Force interdiction strategy in favor of striking the enemy wherever 
(and whenever) it hurt him most had made available more aircraft 
for close support of ground operations. 26 The UN commander, 
General Clark, who had given the green light to the shift in USAF 
policy and targets, followed the giant hydroelectric strike in June 
with a mass attack the next month on 30 military targets located near 
the North Korean Capital. During a year's freedom from air attack 
(July 1951-July 1952) Pyongyang had become not only the major 
logistics center for combat equipment and personnel but also the 
focal point for command and control of Communist ground and air 
defense efforts. 

Designated Operation pressure pump, the 11 July strike against 
Pyongyang called for three separate attacks during daylight and a 
fourth at night. This extended time over the target would give enemy 
fighters more than ample time to take to the skies in defense of the 
Capital. Because Pyongyang "was defended by 48 guns and more 
than 100 automatic weapons, making it one of the worst 'flak traps' 
in Korea," 27 there was considerable hazard in the operation. Added 

2j Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFlt EvalRpt 
No. 5, Chap. 9; 1st MAW ComdDs, Jun-Oct 52; MAG-12 ComdDs, Jun, Sep 52; 
MAG-33 ComdD, Aug 52; MACG-2 ComdD, Sep 52; VMA-312 ComdDs, Sep-Oct 
52; VMA-323 ComdDs, Jun-Jul, Sep 52; VMF(N)-513 ComdDs, Jun-Jul 52; VMJ-1 
ComdD, Jul 52; Cagle and Manson, Sea War, Korea; Clark, Danube to Yalu; Field, 
NavOps, Korea; Futrell, USAF, Korea; Rees, Korea. 

20 The 1st MAW chief of staff during this period, then Colonel Samuel S. Jack, 
offered the opinion that "the Fifth Air Force was most sympathetic to Division require- 
ments for close air support from Wing sources. The Eighth Army in the Joint Opera- 
tions Center proved to be the principal limiting factor in the assignment of air in 
accordance with these requests. Also, requirements that Division CAS requests filter 
through I Corps and JOC constituted a major factor in Wing response." Jack llr. 

27 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 482. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


danger to the pilots resulted from the decision to forewarn the North 
Korean civilian population of the air assault. General Clark ex- 
plained the reason for dropping warning leaflets prior to the attack 
on Pyongyang: 

The objective was in part humanitarian and in part practical . We had 
to hit Pyongyang because the Communists had made it a major military 
headquarters and stockpile area. We wanted to warn the people away from 
danger areas. By warning them away we disrupted their daily lives and 
made it difficult for the Communists to maintain any kind of schedules in 
their work in the city. 28 

Results indicated that both the destructive and the psychological 
aspects of the mission were successful. American, British, and ROK 
planes completely destroyed 3 of the 30 military targets attacked. 
Of the rest, only two escaped major damage: 

According to . . . reports, the North Korean Ministry of Industry's 
underground offices were destroyed and a direct hit on another shelter was 
said to have killed 400 to 500 Communist officials. Off the air for two 
days, Radio Pyongyang finally announced that the 'brutal' strikes had 
destroyed 1,500 buildings and had inflicted 7,000 casualties. 29 

Of the far-reaching effect of the leaflets, the UN commander later 

The warning leaflets, coupled with the bombing, hurt Nerth Korean 
civilian morale badly. The very audacity of the United Nations in warning 
the Communists where bombers would strike hurt morale because it em- 
phasized to the North Koreans just how complete was UN mastery of 
the air. Contrarily, it made them see even more clearly that the Com- 
munists were ineffectual in their efforts to ward off our air blows. . . . 

As a result of the warnings, the bombings, the failure of the Communists 
to provide protection, and the refusal of the Communists to permit evacua- 
tion of the clearly defined target areas, civilian resentment was channeled 
away from the UNC bombers and towards the Communist rulers. 30 

The record set by the 1,254 sorties flown in this 11 July operation 
was to last only seven weeks. On 29 August, 1,403 sorties were em- 
ployed in a new strike against the Capital. The massed raids against 
military targets in Pyongyang, known as the "All United Nations Air 

28 Clark, Danube to Yalu, pp. 208-209. 
20 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 482. 

30 Clark, Danube to Yalu, p. 209. "I told you so" leaflets were dropped after the 
raid to impress the inhabitants with the importance of believing the warning leaflets. 
USAF, Ops in Korea, No. 127, pp. 36, 37. 


Operations in West Korea 

Effort" turned out to be the largest one-day air assault during the 
entire three years of the Korean War. Again attacking at four-hour 
intervals three times during daylight, Allied aircraft blasted a list of 
targets that "read like a guide to public offices in Pyongyang and 
included such points of interest as the Ministry of Rail Transporta- 
tion, the Munitions Bureau, Radio Pyongyang, plus many factories, 
warehouses, and troop billets." 31 Of the 45 military targets in the 
city, 31 received moderate-to-severe damage according to post-strike 

Substitution of the previous interdiction strategy by PRESSURE at- 
tacks brought increased close air support to frontline troops. As a 
result of this expanded number of CAS sorties, wing pilots and 
ground forward air controllers greatly increased their operational 
proficiency. 32 The Marines were still not satisfied with the close sup- 
port picture, however, and neither were a number of U.S. Army com- 
manders. Some of the latter regarded General Clark as the champion 
of more extensive close air support missions for frontline units, but 
he quickly dispelled this view. Instead, he cautioned these supporters 
of Marine-type close air support to accept the existing procedures, 
which were derived from the "vast reservoir of experience . . . [repre- 
senting] the composite view of senior members of the Armed Forces 
[with] the longest and most responsible experience in close support 
during World War II." 33 At the same time the UN commander, on 
11 August 1952, had advised his force commanders to study the fac- 
tors affecting the close air support situation in Korea and comment 
on certain UNC proposals for improving the CAS system. 

In the close air support picture for the Marines, October was a 
bright month. In the outpost battles of early October, the 1st MAW 
put 319 sorties in the air during both day and night to strike, strafe, 
bomb, and burn enemy positions and troops facing General Pollock's 
division. A new level of achievement had been reached during the 
Bunker Hill battle in August. That month nearly 1,000 aircraft, pre- 
dominantly Marine, loosed ordnance at targets on and near the 
Chinese MLR and OPLR. 

During the first six months of Marine ground operations in defense 
of jamestown, wing squadrons and pilots had made major contri- 

31 Futrell, USAF, Korea, p. 489. 

PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, p. 9-53. 
33 Ibid., p. 9-143. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


butions to the U.S. air effort in Korea. On 7 June 1952, First Lieu- 
tenant John W. Andre, VMF(N)-513, piloting a World War II 
model Corsair on a night armed reconnaissance mission over the west 
coast of North Korea, shot down an enemy piston-driven Yak fighter. 
It was the first time that a Russian-built plane of that model had been 
knocked out of the skies at night by another plane. This aircraft was 
also the fifth kill for the lieutenant, making him the first Marine 
nightfighter ace in Korea. 34 

Nearly three months after that record, another one emerged: the 
first Marine to down an enemy jet with a propeller-driven aircraft. 
Late on the afternoon of 10 September, Captain Jesse G. Folmar and 
First Lieutenant Willie L. Daniels, both of VMA-312, had taken 
off from the Sicily to attack an enemy troop concentration reported 
to be south of Chinnampo, on the west coast just below the 39th 
Parallel. Shortly after reaching the vicinity of the target, the Marine 
Corsairs were jumped by a pair of MIG-15s. Two more Russian- 
made jets tore into the fight. During a fast exchange of cannon and 
machine gun fire, the Marine captain was able to score lethal hits on 
one of the MIGs. When four more of them picked up the chase, the 
vastly outnumbered Marines broke for home, heading westward in a 
diving turn. 

Captain Folmar's return to the Sicily was delayed almost im- 

I had just started picking up good diving speed when I saw balls of 
tracer ammo passing on my left and at the same instant felt a severe explo- 
sion in my left wing ... I saw that the left aileron and four feet of my 
left wing were gone/ 13 

This damage caused the plane to rapidly go out of control. While 
still able to maneuver, the Marine aviator headed for the sea and as 
he neared it, bailed out of his Corsair and parachuted into the ocean. 
A rescue plane out of Cho-do picked him up and returned the cap- 
tain, who had sustained a slight shoulder injury, to the carrier. Lieu- 
tenant Daniels, who had alerted the rescue force, circled his de- 
scending flight leader until he hit the water. After ascertaining that 
the waterborne flier's condition was satisfactory, the lieutenant turned 
his plane towards the Sicily. In a short while he was safely home. 

34 The first Marine night ace was Captain Robert Baird, who shot down six Japanese 
planes between 9 June and 14 July 1945. Sherrod, Marine Aviation, p. 404. Lieu- 
tenant Andre's first four planes were also downed during World War II. See Appendix 
F for Marine air kills during the Korean War. 

35 VMA-312 ComdD, Sep 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

In late September, Major Alexander J. Gillis, VMF-311, assigned 
earlier that summer to the Air Force's 335th Fighter-Interceptor 
Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, as an exchange pilot. 30 distinguished 
himself by becoming not only the first naval aviator to destroy three 
enemy aircraft in Korea but also the second one to get a multiple 
killing in a single day. 37 Flying in a four-plane Sabrejet formation 
near the vicinity of the mouth of the Yalu on 28 September, Major 
Gillis led another plane after two MIG-15s. By superior pilot tech- 
nique and aggressive tactics, he forced one of the enemy to crash 
during a low altitude chase. Later on during the sortie, the Marine 
initiated an attack on a solo MIG, closing on it and scoring hits that 
caused the plane to become uncontrollable and the pilot to eject. 
Major Gillis also had to eject from his F-86 after it became disabled 
by the MIG. The incident had occurred on the Marine aviator's 50th 
combat mission with the Air Force. He spent nearly four hours in 
the Yellow Sea before a rescue helicopter picked him up. 

Another feat, this one a study in determination and perseverance, 
had occurred early in the summer. On 22 July, the VMJ-1 com- 
mander, Lieutenant Colonel Vernon O. Ullman, had taken to the 
air for a photo mission over North Korea in the vicinity of Sinanju, 
located near the Yellow Sea 40 miles above Pyongyang. During the 
first of seven scheduled flights, he encountered heavy flak but never- 
theless completed his first mapping run in the area. Further, the 
Marine flier decided that the antiaircraft menace was not going to 
force him to abandon the remaining part of his task. He continued. 
On the second of his seven runs, some 40 enemy jets (MIG-15s) 
appeared on the scene. These were dissuaded from close-in inter- 
ference, however, by the photo escort of 24 USAF single-engine 
Sabrejet fighters. Thereafter, the Russian-made aircraft disappeared; 
Lieutenant Colonel Ullman continued, despite the intense, accurate 
enemy antiaircraft fire, until he concluded his mission. 

30 The exchange program "appears to have originated with the participation — at Tac- 
tical Air Command's invitation — of two Marine Corps and two Navy pilots ... in the 
fall of 1947." Within two years, the program designed to "indoctrinate selected Air 
Force and Navy pilots in the air operational and air training activities of each other's 
service, had received Department of Defense approval." On 1 October 1949 the pro- 
gram went into effect. Initially the exchange period was one year, but after the Korean 
fighting broke out, the period was reduced to approximately three months. Marine 
participation began late in 1951. Atch 1 to Hq, USAF (AFCHO) memo to Maj J. M. 
Yingling, HQMC, dtd 16 Jan 67 in v. V, Korean comment file. 

37 On 15 September, Major Gillis had shot down a solo MIG-15. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


The type of determination displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Ullman 
helped Marine tactical squadrons achieve some kind of distinction 
nearly every month from late spring to the fall of 1952. In May, 
VMF-323 ("the Death Rattlers"), then commanded by Major 
William A. Weir, established a squadron one-month record for 
number of combat sorties, 1,160, and total combat hours, 2,362.7. 
A high percentage of aircraft availability, 95.6, helped make this 
mark possible. On 1 June, VMA-312 received the congratulations 
of CTF 95 for its "outstanding performance under difficult condi- 
tions" during the spring months. During this period the squadron, 
based on board the USS Bataan, had been particularly hampered by 
excessive turn-over of key squadron officers and flight leaders. This 
continual squadron rotation resulted in considerable variation in 
pilot indoctrination and need for field carrier landing qualification, 
due to the "close tolerances in pilot skill required by carrier opera- 
tions." 38 Despite these difficulties, VMA-312 had scored an impres- 
sive 80-sortie mission, flown by 24 aircraft, on 18 April. 

Additional recognition of professional excellence was conferred 
upon Marine squadrons in July. On the 17th, the senior advisor to 
the ROK I Corps expressed the gratitude of the corps commander 
for the magnificent support the 1st MAW pilots had provided during 
the second week of the month. All four attack squadrons in MAG-12 
and both fighter units in MAG-33 had taken part in these CAS 
missions. A week later, eight planes from Lieutenant Colonel Henry 
S. Miller's VMA-323, (which, along with Lieutenant Colonel 
Graham H. Benson's VMA-212, had been redesignated from fighter 
to attack squadrons the previous month), completed an unusually 
successful interdiction mission at Hago. 

Located 25 miles northwest of Kaesong, the village reportedly was 
the site of heavy troop concentrations, active mortar positions, and 
antitank weapons. Leaving K-6 at 1725, the eight Marine VMA-323 
pilots were soon over the target. Comprising the Death Rattler's 
flight were Majors John M. Dufford, Raymond C. Holben, William 
H. Irvin, Jr., and Curtis E. Knudson; Captain John Church, Jr.; First 
Lieutenant William A. Poe, Jr.; and Second Lieutenants Stuart L. 
Spurlock and James S. Thompson. At 1810 their attacks were 
launched, using 1,000-pound bombs, napalm, rockets, and 20mm am- 

PacFlt EvalRpt, No. 4, Chap. 10, p. 10-77. 


Operations in West Korea 

munition. The strike was over almost as soon as it had started, and 
when the Marines departed, not one building remained in useful 
condition. But it was not until several days later that the final results 
of the strike were known. Intelligence sources reported that the raid 
had caught the enemy troops at the evening meal; more than 500 had 
been killed by the Corsairs, aptly called "Whistling Death" by the 
Japanese in World War II. 

For the remainder of the summer and into the fall Marine groups 
and squadrons continued their record-breaking and efficient support 
of ground troops and naval forces. With four squadrons (two day, 
one night-fighter, and one photo), MAG-33 sent 141 sorties against 
the enemy on 6 August. This one-day group record occurred just 
before the departure of Colonel Condon, who turned over the reins 
of the organization to Colonel Herbert H. Williamson on the 11th, 
and then took command of MAG-12. 

Shortly before Colonel Condon relinquished command, he was 
particularly pleased by the success of a four-plane strike by VMF-311 
(Major William J. Sims) in support of the U.S. 25th Infantry Divi- 
sion commanded by Brigadier General Samuel T. Williams. Major 
Johnnie C. Vance, Jr., strike leader, was accompanied in this flight 
by Captain George R. Brier and Second Lieutenants Charles E. 
Pangburn and Whitlock N. Sharpe. Up until this time the infantry 
had been particularly harassed by several enemy frontline fortifica- 
tions and supporting artillery. The four pilots destroyed three bunkers 
and two heavy guns and also caved in approximately 50 feet of 
trenchline on the 7 August strike. Upon learning of the success of 
the Marine pilots and the conditions under which the attacks were 
carried out — dangerous terrain and constant ground fire directed 
towards the planes — the general dispatched a letter, commending the 
"skill, courage, and determination displayed by these pilots. . . ." 39 

Another congratulatory message was received in September, this 
one from General Pollock for the excellent support given by MAG- 
12 on the 20th. With three attack squadrons participating, Colonel 
Condon's group had neutralized Chinese weapons and troops at 
OP 36 to help prevent a takeover of the Korean position. The pilots 
reported well over 100 Chinese casualties. Lieutenant Colonel Ken- 
neth R. Chamberlain's VMA-323 contributed most of the 23 Marine 

MAG-33 ComdD, Aug 52, p. 16. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


sorties. The other attacking squadrons were VMA-121 (Lieutenant 
Colonel Wayne M. Cargill, who 10 days earlier had relieved Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Crawford), and VMA-212, commanded by Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Maurice W. Fletcher. 

September was a month of mixed fortunes in the air war over 
Korea. The successful CAS strikes of the 20th followed only a few 
days after another high point set on 14 September, when Lieutenant 
Colonel Cargill's attack squadron flew its 5,000th combat sortie since 
arrival in the Korean theater in October 1951. Then on 15 September, 
General Jerome commissioned a new kind of unit in the wing, 
Marine Composite Squadron 1 (VMC-l), whose mission was to 
provide electronic counter-measures (ECM) for UN aircraft. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Lawrence F. Fox headed the squadron, the only one 
in the naval service with an ECM primary mission in Korea. 

Three days after the commissioning, a strange incident trans- 
pired. North of the UN line and at an altitude of 9,500 feet, a F-84 
Thunderjet fighter, with U.S. Air Force markings and insignia, at- 
tacked a propeller-driven Air Force trainer. The slower plane im- 
mediately began defensive maneuvering, flying in tight circles. After 
making five turns, the trainer pilot saw the supposedly friendly jet 
fly off. ff 

It was believed that such a paradoxical occurrence was due to 
the substantial number of F-84 losses and the enemy's ability to 
piece together and fly an aircraft of that model. A few similar 
episodes — attacks by apparently friendly aircraft on UN planes — had 
previously taken place. In each case, the impostor was a model of 
U.S. aircraft that had suffered particularly heavy losses. 

Another incident in September had dire consequences. On the 
10th, MAG-33 dispatched 22 fighter aircraft from VMF-115 (Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Royce W. Coin) to attack reported troop concentra- 
tions near Sariwon, 35 miles directly south of Pyongyang. The F9F 
Panther jets had completed the strike and were returning to their 
K-3 base when they were diverted to land at K-2, Taegu, where the 
weather was better. Fog had suddenly swept over the field at K-3, 
reducing visibility to zero. Sixteen Panthers landed safely at K-2, 
45 miles southwest of the Marine field at Pohang. The remaining 
six, piloted by Majors Raymond E. Demers and Donald F. Givens, 
First Lieutenant Alvin R. Bourgeois, and by Second Lieutenants John 
W. Hill, Jr., Carl R. Lafleur, and Richard L. Roth, flying in forma- 


Operations in West Korea 

tion in poor weather, crashed into the side of a 3,000-foot mountain 
while descending. 40 They would have required only an additional 
600 feet of altitude to clear the summit. 

Losses of Marine pilots and aircraft had been of growing concern 
to the wing command. The initial success of the flak suppression fires 
had eliminated the one successful Communist source of air defense, 
accurate antiaircraft firing. One result was that noncombat accidents 
for a while during the summer became the principal cause of pilot 
and plane attrition. To help reduce these operational accidents as 
well as the combat losses, the two Marine air groups instituted 
squadron training programs and also directed the adoption of several 
new corrective procedures. In MAG-12, for example, a study of 
results from the FAF policy that limited bombing runs to one for 
interdiction and two for CAS targets revealed a sharp reduction in 
hits from flak. Tactical squadron commanders in MAG-12 drew up 
a syllabus during September to test proposed defensive tactics for 
their propeller aircraft to employ against enemy jets. The carrier 
squadron, VMA-312, began that same month the additional practice 
of field carrier landing qualification at K-6 for new pilots before 
permitting them to operate from the carriers. 

In spite of these efforts, pilot losses spiralled alarmingly in 
October. For the rest of 1952, the monthly totals remained near that 
month's level. On the other hand, aircraft losses during October 
dropped sharply to 10 from the September total of 22. This lower 
figure was not to be exceeded until May 1953- These remedial pro- 
cedures were considered at least partially responsible for the substan- 
tial decrease in aircraft losses. 

In another area, a mid-October landing at Kojo, on the east coast 
immediately south of the 39th Parallel, did not work out as planned. 
The amphibious operation was in reality a feint intended to draw 
troops away from frontline positions and expose them to naval air 
and gunfire as they rushed in reinforcements. The enemy failed to 
rise to the bait, and actually only a few Communist troops were 
sighted. VMA-312 provided armed reconnaissance, tactical air opera- 
tion, and naval gunfire spotting during the feint. Although they 
made little enemy contact, the Marine "Checkerboard" pilots operat- 

40 Although not definitely proven, there were "some indications of false radio beacons 
being used by the enemy in clandestine operations in the K-2 area." Jack l/r. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


ing off the Sicily gained much experience in landings and take-offs 
under the adverse conditions of rough seas and high winds. 

Rockets, Res up ply, and Radios* 1 

Through October 1952, operational control of Korean based Marine 
fighter and attack squadrons was still vested in commanders other 
than General Jerome. Tactical squadrons continued to be directed by 
the FAF or Navy in their missions; the observation and helicopter 
squadrons were under operational control of the 1st Marine Division 
and utilized, as before, at its discretion. 

HMR-161, commanded since 8 August by Lieutenant Colonel 
John F. Carey, continued its primary mission of evaluating rotary 
wing aircraft and their methods of employment. One tactical inno- 
vation, movement of elements of the 4.5-inch Rocket Battery, was 
undertaken during August soon after the Bunker Hill battle. With 
ground-fired rockets, the problem of a tell-tale cloud of dust and 
brilliant flash of the rockets after each salvo had always plagued 
the artillerymen. This seldom went unnoticed by the enemy, who 
often showered the marked area with counterbattery fire. On 19 and 
20 August, in Operation ripple, HMR-161 and the rocket battery 
proved that these two units could successfully shoot and scoot to a 
new location and fire effectively again without drawing an enemy 
reprisal. This Marine Corps innovation in air mobility — the first 
displacement of field artillery under combat conditions — offered a 
major time-saving advantage. Whereas previously it took approxi- 
mately a half-hour for rocket launchers to move from their bivouac 
area to firing position, 42 deployment by helicopter could be made in 
a matter of minutes, a time factor that could be critical in event of 
an enemy attempted breakthrough. 

The operation demonstrated that helicopters not only could trans- 
port rocket crews with weapons and ammunition to firing areas far 
more rapidly than conventional wheeled vehicles, but that the rotary 
craft could airlift these weapons into places inaccessible by road. 
The nature of the mountainous terrain proved advantageous in that 

41 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: PacFll EvalRpl 
No. 5, Chaps. 8, 9; 1st MAW ComdD, Oct 52; HMR-161 ComdDs Aug-Sep 52. 

42 Henderson Itr III. 


Operations in West Korea 

hills and valleys provided defiladed areas for loading and firing 
the weapons as well as protected routes for helicopter movements. 
An observation made by pilots for operations in other types of 
environment, not offering as much cover and concealment, was that 
the shiny blue paint on their birds would make detection easy in 
most surroundings and that camouflage paint would lessen the risk 
from enemy AA. 

Transport helicopters of HMR-161 continued to augment those of 
VMO-6 in casualty evacuation and ferrying Marines and other front- 
line troops. The observation squadron maintained its policy and out- 
standing record of emergency flights of the wounded under any 
weather conditions except dense fog (electronic navigational aids 
still were not available) . In August, various mechanical failures de- 
veloped among the newly received H05S-1 Sikorsky helicopters. 
These three-place observation aircraft were underpowered but supe- 
rior in many flight characteristics to the HTL-4 helicopters then in 
the squadron. Mechanical difficulties with the newer aircraft increased 
until it became necessary to ground them late in October until re- 
placement parts became available in the supply system. 

Employment of transport helicopters for logistical support con- 
fined to be a principal use of such rotary wing aircraft as the end 
of 1952 approached. Tests earlier in the year had proved the theory 
that this versatile aircraft could resupply a battalion manning the 
MLR. The next step was to determine if the logistical support for 
an entire combat regiment could be accomplished by helicopter. 
Operation haylift, conducted during 22-26 September, the last of 
five operations that month for HMR-161, was to test and evaluate 
helicopter resupply of Colonel Moore's 7th Marines. Plans called for 
delivering all Class I, III, and V items and such Class II and IV 
items as could be accommodated. Two loading and four unloading 
sites were prescribed. All but extremely valuable cargo, such as mail, 
was to be carried externally in slings or wire baskets. 

haylift did show that at least for a short period of time — five 
days— a helicopter squadron, utilizing 40 percent of its aircraft, 
could sustain a MLR regiment. Following the general procedures 
employed previously with the battalion, HMR-161 found that no 
great changes were necessary for resupply" of the regiment. Two 
recommendations emerged from an evaluation of haylift. One 
stressed the need for establishment of an operations center manned 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


by representatives of each unit participating in the exercise. The 
second called for development of a more flexible loading system, 
one that would permit rapid weight increases or decreases of 50 
pound increments, as the situation demanded. Such a method would 
make possible a more efficient payload for each lift. 43 

Transport on a larger scale in the 1st MAW was accomplished by 
General Jerome's few transport aircraft reinforced by the eight 
R5Ds from the VMR-152 detachment. In June, the passenger-carrying 
operations reached the peak for the entire Korean War; that month, 
17,490 troops and military-associated civilians utilized the reinforced 
wing transport aircraft. June 1952 was also the second busiest month 
in freight transportation (7,397,824 pounds, nearly double the figure 
for June 1951). 

Squadrons that were unable to better their performance records 
in some cases could trace their trouble to the inability to get all of 
their planes off the ground. Several models were subject to spare 
parts shortages. 44 New aircraft, the F3D-2s and the AU-ls received 
in June by VMF(N)-513 and VMA-212, respectively, had preceded 
an adequate stocking of normal replacements for worn out or defec- 
tive parts. The night fighter squadron was handicapped also by 
introduction into the supply system of inadequate radio tubes, which 
burned out rapidly. The most critical shortage, however, was parts 
for starter units of jet engines. This deficiency was not corrected 
until summer. One problem never quite eliminated was the confusion 
of supply orders intended for the helicopters in HMR-161 and 
VMO-6. It was believed that the close resemblance of Sikorsky HRS 
and H05S part numbers and nomenclatures had caused the im- 
properly-marked requisitions and mix-up. 

The 1st Marine Division logistical situation during the summer 
and fall of 1952 was generally excellent. General Pollock's units 
did not suffer from the shortage of spare parts experienced by the 
1st MAW whose aircraft sometimes had to be grounded because of 
a missing spare part. U.S. Army support in the replacement of 

,:i For example, on 25 September, rain soaked the cardboard cover of the rations, add- 
ing extra weight to each preloaded lift of these Class I supplies. On the other hand, a 
heavier load could have been used at times. As the helicopter used up its fuel, a com- 
mensurate increase in cargo could have been carried. 

" Spare parts shortages are "inherent in the introduction of new equipment into the 
field and prior to the development of usage data." a major effort was made at this time 
by 1st MAW to improve its critical spare parts support by improved stock control pro- 
cedures and complete inventory. ]ack llr. 


Operations in West Korea 

worn-out Marine vehicles for new Army ones proved satisfactory. 
No major problems arose in engineer support. Medical evacuation 
and treatment and the level of supplies in the five companies of the 
1st Medical Battalion remained excellent. 

There were two significant changes in the logistical support pro- 
vided the Marine division early in the fall. One dealt with employ- 
ment of the division's 1st and 7th Motor Transport Battalions, 
located in the rear support areas. Beginning in September, the com- 
panies were placed in direct support of the four infantry regiments, 
with liaison by Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth E. Martin, division motor 
transport officer. It was believed this decentralization would have 
the following advantages: 

1. Decreased vehicle mileage and therefore less driver fatigue 
and prolonged vehicle life. 

2. Increased dispersal as a safeguard against loss of wheeled 
vehicle support in event of an unexpected and successful enemy 

The other change was a shift in the emphasis of support rendered 
by the Korean Service Corps. During October, each of the three 
frontline regiments received 300 more laborers, raising the total to 
800. Rear area units paid for the increase, since the KSCs were de- 
tached from support units and sent forward to the MLR. 

Logistical support from the 1st Signal Battalion left little to be 
desired. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John E. Morris 43 when 
the Marines moved to western Korea, the signalmen helped establish 
and maintain an extensive communications net, with 5,200 miles of 
wire within the division and several vital links to adjacent and higher 
commands. 40 Wiremen worked around the clock to lay and maintain 
the telephone lines, which suffered considerable damage from the 
artillery and mortar barrages. When possible, the signalmen raised 
the wires off the ground. The battalion set in more than 1,400 tele- 
phone poles. After the system had been installed and was working 
efficiently, the July floods washed away part of the major communi- 

45 On 4 April Lieutenant Colonel Alton L. Hicks assumed command of the battalion; 
Lieutenant Colonel Jacob E. Glick relieved him on 3 August. 

40 Communication with General Kendall's I Corps consisted of radio-teletype, tele- 
phone, radio relay, courier plane, and motor messenger. PacFll EvalRpl No. 5, p. 8-68. 
The 11th Marines also had an additional 1,100 miles of communication wire. Hender- 
son Itr III. 

Outpost Fighting Expanded 


cations. By improvising and by setting up emergency equipment, the 
battalion was able to maintain the flow of communications traffic at 
a satisfactory level. Replacement items were provided by the U.S. 
Army on a reimbursable basis in accordance with existing directives. 

In September it became apparent that the signal equipment used 
to maintain division communications was no longer equal to the 
demands placed upon it. The extensive ground area plus the number 
and size of reinforcing units had not only put a heavy burden on 
radio, telephone, and teletype equipment but also caused the deple- 
tion of reserve stocks. With the spare equipment in use, there was 
no pool to draw upon when units turned in defective equipment for 
repair. Neither were there available replacements for materiel de- 
stroyed by enemy action. Items most urgently needed were flown in 
from the States. Other critical parts came from Army sources in 
Japan and Korea. By the end of October, the communication resupply 
had returned to a more normal condition. 

Before the month ended a different type of critical situation was 
to confront the division. It appeared that the enemy's success in 
seizing a half-dozen outposts earlier in October had only whetted 
his appetite for more. Chinese eyes were turned towards positions 
that held still more potential value than the stepping-stones just 
acquired. The extreme right battalion in the division front held by 
the 7th Marines was the focal point of the new effort. 


The Hook 

Before the Battle — Preparations for Attack and Defense- 
Attack on the Hook — Reno Demonstration — Counterattack- 

Before the Battle 1 

AFTER THE heavy FIGHTING in early October, there was a change 
. in the 1st Marine Division dispositions. On the 12th, the 5th 
Marines relieved the 1st in the center sector and the latter regiment 
went into reserve. For the next two weeks the lull that prevailed 
across the regimental front was in sharp contrast to the intense 
fighting there earlier in the month. On the division left, the Korean 
Marines, not engaged in any sizable Communist action, conducted 
frequent tank-infantry reconnaissance patrols and ambushes forward 
of their MLR. In the center of the division line the 5th Marines, too, 
found their Chinese opponent seemingly reluctant to pursue any 
combat offensives, though his harassment of the Bunker Hill area 
represented the strongest action against the Marine division at this 
time. The 7th Marines, holding down the right sector, similarly en- 
countered the enemy for only brief periods, these contacts during 
patrol actions lasting no more than 15 to 30 minutes. 

Upon its relief from the MLR, the 1st Marines took over the 
division rear area. There the regiment continued the improvement of 
the secondary defensive lines, conducted extensive training, and dis- 
patched numerous security patrols throughout the regimental area. 

1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: CG, IstMarDiv, 
Info for CG, FMFPac; IstMarDiv ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 706-736, dtd 
1-31 Oct 52; 7thMar ComdD, Oct 52; LtCol Robert D. Heinl, Jr. memo to Dir, MarCor 
Hist, HQMC, dtd 28 Oct 52, Subj: Notes on 7th Marines' Action (Defense of "The 
Hook"), 26-27 Oct 52, hereafter Heinl, memo. 



Operations in West Korea 

These routine reserve roles were in addition to the primary mission 
of augmenting units on the Marine MLR in order to counterattack 
and defeat any attempted penetration of jamestown in the division 
area. As part of its counterattack mission, the divisional reserve regi- 
ment was to be prepared for employment anywhere in the I Corps 
sector to block an enemy advance. 

On the division right, the 7th Marines remained on position in 
defense of jamestown. Following the bitter outpost contests on 
6 October, Colonel Moore continued to retain all three battalions 
on line: 2/7 on the left, 3/7 in the center, and 1/7 on the right. 
The regimental commander had found it necessary to commit his 
three battalions on line due to the vastly overextended six-mile 
front, the rugged terrain, and the very real possibility of a major 
Communist attack anywhere along the MLR. With all battalions 
forward, Colonel Moore was left with a very small reserve, one 
company from 3/7. This battalion had to use as its reserve what 
had become known as "clutch platoons" — units composed of cooks, 
bakers, clerks, motor transport, and other Marine headquarters per- 
sonnel. These local reserves, and even the reserve company from 3/7, 
could be employed only with the regimental commander's approval. 

Line jamestown, in the 7th Marines area, meandered from the 
vicinity of the burned-out village of Toryom, on the left, to the Hook 
salient in the right battalion sector and from there southeast to the 
Samichon River, the boundary with the 1st Commonwealth Division. 
From the left battalion sector to the right, the terrain gradually 
grew more rugged until the hills finally spilled over into the Sami- 
chon Valley. To the rear of the MLR, the ground was less jagged; 
forward of the line, the hills were more precipitous in character. 
The steepest heights were in the right battalion sector. Highest 
terrain feature along Colonel Moore's MLR was Hill 146, located 
not far from the Hook. Throughout the 7th Marines sector rice 
paddies covered the narrow valley floors between the hills. Vegeta- 
tion was sparse. A series of dirt roads and trails served the regi- 
mental area. 

Combat outposts varied greatly as to their distance from james- 
town. Farthest from the line were the three in the left battalion 
sector, manned by Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's 2/7. This trio, 
Carson, Reno, and Vegas, were approximately 1,000 yards forward 
of the MLR. Berlin and East Berlin (a new outpost established on 

The Hook 


13 October) were the forward positions in the center line outposted 
by Lieutenant Colonel Charles D. Barrett's 2 Marines. To the right 
Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's 1/7 sector held three — COPs Ronson, 
Warsaw, and Verdun, the latter near the Commonwealth border. 

Ronson was the outpost nearest to the Hook, a major defensive 
position of the regiment. The importance of this part of the MLR, 
in the extreme eastern sector, lay not in its strength but rather in its 
weakness. Jutting as it did towards the Communist lines, the salient 
formed a J-shaped bulge in the main line, which not only gave the 
Hook its nickname but also established the vulnerability of the 
position. Its susceptibility to capture derived both from violation 
of a defensive axiom that the "MLR should not have sharp angles 
and salients" 3 and to the fact that the ridgeline on which the Hook 
was located continued northwest into Communist-held territory. 
Seattle, which the Chinese had seized on 2 October, lay only about 
500 yards northwest of the Hook. 

In spite of its vulnerability, the Hook could not be abandoned. 
There was no other terrain feature held by the Marines that could 
command the critical Samichon Valley, a major avenue of approach 
from the northeast directly to Seoul. The salient also dominated 
the entire nearby area of the Imjin River to the south. Possession 
of the Hook and adjoining ridge would give the Communists obser- 
vation of a substantial portion of the Marine rear areas beyond the 
Imjin, as well as the vital river crossings. In the opinion of Major 
General M. M. Austin-Roberts- West, whose 1st Commonwealth 
Division was soon to take over the Hook sector, had the salient 
been lost, "a withdrawal of 4,000 yards would have been necessary." 4 

At the beginning of October, this vital area had been protected 
by COPs Seattle and Warsaw. When the former was overrun, it 
became necessary to establish a new position. This was directed by 
Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki, and on 16 October Ronson was estab- 

2 Responsibility for this part of the 7th Marines line changed on 13 October, when 
Lieutenant Colonel Barrett took command of 3/7 from Lieutenant Colonel Russell. The 
latter then was assigned as division senior liaison officer to the KMC regiment. 

3 Heinl, memo. The originator of this memo, Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr., 
was an experienced Marine officer and military historian who had just been assigned to 
the division for duty. Temporarily attached to the 7th Marines as an observer, his brief 
visit there happened to coincide with the beginning of the Hook battle. 

4 Quoted in LtCol Herbert F. Wood, Strange Battleground : The Operations in Korea 
and Their Effects on the Defense Policy of Canada (Ottawa: The Army Historical Sec- 
tion, Canadian Forces Headquarters, 1966), p. 213- 


Operations in West Korea 

lished 200 yards southeast of Seattle and 275 yards west of tne 
Hook. About 600 yards northeast of the salient the remaining 
position, COP Warsaw, commanded the lowlands to the east and the 
narrow, east-west oriented valley of a Samichon tributary immedi- 
ately to the front. 

Opposite the three MLR battalions of the 7th Marines were the 
356th and 357th Regiments of the 119th Division, 40th CCF Army. 
In addition to these infantry units, numbering close to 7,000, an 
estimated 10 battalions (120 guns) of Chinese artillery 5 were facing 
Colonel Moore's regiment. Personnel strength of the American unit 
consisted of 3,844 Marines, 11 medical officers and 133 corpsmen, 
3 U.S. Army communicators, and 764 Koreans (746 KSCs and 18 
interpreters) . 

During the summer and early fall, the 7th Marines had amassed 
considerable information about the enemy, including Chinese 
strength and composition of forces and many of their combat char- 
acteristics. Encroachment on Marine ground positions by steadily 
creeping the CCF trenchline forward continued to be the enemy's 
major ground-gaining tactic. In fact, the Chinese units facing the 
Marine division concentrated their digging during the fall of 1952 
in the sector north of the 7th Marines MLR. (See Map 15.) Other 
intelligence, however, seemed open to question. For example, there 
was the reported frontline presence of women among the 90 Chinese 
who had engaged a 2/1 patrol on 5 October as well as the sighting 
in the KMC sector on the 17th of enemy "super soldiers" far taller 
than the ordinary Chinese. Many in the division found it difficult 
to believe the statements of enemy prisoners. During interrogation 
they invariably maintained that the mission of Chinese Communist 
Forces in Korea was a "defensive" one. 

The static battle situation encouraged the use of psychological 
warfare. In attempting to influence the minds of their opponents 
and weaken morale, the Chinese depended upon loudspeakers to 

5 The Marine division artillery regiment reported that in late October nine battal- 
ions of Chinese artillery, ranging from 75 or 76mm guns or howitzers to 122mm how- 
itzers, opposed the 7th Marines. It was estimated that one other 122mm battalion was 
also emplaced north of the right division sector. In addition to these CCF units, ele- 
ments of a 152mm self-propelled howitzer unit were also believed to be in the area. 
Late in November two batteries of 152mm howitzers were tentatively located about 
4,000 yards west northwest of the Hook. Disposition had been determine.! "as a result 
of crater analysis, shell reports, sound plots, and capabilities of the weapon." llthMar 
ComdD, Nov 52, "Enemy Artillery Activity Rpts," Nos. 21, 23, dtd 1, 21 Nov. 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

carry their propaganda barrage across No-Man's-Land. Enemy em- 
ployment of this technique was especially heavy during October. To 
Marines, for example, Chinese directed pleas of "Go home and have 
peace," "Surrender, we treat POWs well," "Leave Korea," "Marines, 
come and get your buddies' bodies," and the like, often to the 
accompaniment of music. On occasion, Chinese patrols left propa- 
ganda pamphlets behind them in the KMC sector. Infrequently, the 
enemy displayed signs along patrol routes urging Marines to sur- 
render. Most of the Chinese psychological efforts were directed 
against the Korean Marines. 

In enemy employment of artillery, Marine frontline units and 
division intelligence had become well aware of the vast improve- 
ments the Communists had made in recent months. Aided by a 
plentiful supply of ammunition, enemy guns and howitzers, including 
the heavy 152mm weapon, frequently delivered concentrated fires 
on critical positions in the division area. Marines felt the effects of 
how well the Chinese had learned to mass their fires against a single 
target for maximum destructive power. From the Marines, moreover, 
the enemy had picked up the artillery box tactic, employing it for 
the first time in their sector opposite Colonel Moore's regiment 
during the early October outpost battles. 

During those same clashes, the 11th Marines had observed how 
the Chinese displaced some of their batteries well forward for more 
effective artillery support of their attacking infantry. One enemy 
artillery innovation had been noted the previous month by a Marine 
AO; on 19 September a Chinese artillery piece was detected firing in 
the open. Previous observations had indicated that the Chinese 
generally used wooded areas or extensive bunker-type positions to 
conceal their supporting weapons. 

By the middle of October, 62.5 percent of the Chinese artillery 
opposing General Pollock's division was located in positions north 
of the 7th Marines. The importance the enemy put on the principle 
of massed artillery fire and the improvement of their ammunition 
supply can be seen in a remark attributed to a Chinese division 

The enemy had organized an attack of two-battalion strength on our 
first-line platoon. As the enemy were getting into their assembly area I 
directed several volleys of rapid fire against them with a total expenditure 
of about 120 rounds. That very evening the army commander rang me up 
and said disapprovingly, 'You've expended a bit too much ammunition 

The Hook 


today!' It seemed as though the army commander had detected precisely 
what was in my mind. There was an instant change in his voice as he 
said: 'Oh, comrade, it really could not be accounted as waste, but you must 
know we are short of supplies.' 

Scarcely two years had passed but the situation was completely altered. 
In the present we had emplaced 120 guns to each kilometre of front line 
so that in a rapid-fire bombardment of 25 minutes more than 20,000 
rounds of ammunition could be hurled against the enemy positions. If the 
fire used in supporting attacks and in repulsing enemy counter-attacks were 
taken into account the total would reach 70,000 rounds. 6 

Exaggerated as the numbers of guns and rounds may be, the basic 
massing technique was in line with U.S. intelligence estimates at the 
time. The remark also pointed to the importance the Chinese had 
learned to place on employment of artillery, a shift in emphasis 
that Colonel Moore's regiment was soon to experience in unprece- 
dented volume. 

Preparations for Attack and Defense' 

Before the Hook battle erupted, the defensive fires that the 7th 
Marines could draw upon were not overpowering in terms of num- 
bers of units available. Only one battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Bert 
Davis' 2/11, was in direct support of Colonel Moore's regiment. 
In this mission, the 2/ll fires were reinforced by those of 1/11 
(Lieutenant Colonel David S. Randall). In addition to these organic 
units, the batteries of the 623d Field Artillery Battalion (155mm 
howitzers) and one platoon of C Battery, 17th Field Artillery 
Battalion (8-inch self-propelled howitzers) were readily available 
to the 7th Marines. In all, 38 light, medium, and heavy pieces 
constituted the artillery support of the right sector. 8 General support 
was available from Lieutenant Colonel Raymond D. Wright's 4/11 
and from the 4.2-inch Rocket Battery (Captain Donald G. Frier). 
The 159th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm howitzers) and B 

8 CPV, Recollections, p. 360. 

7 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnls, 24-26 Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 729-732, dtd 
24-27 Oct 52; 7th Mar, 1/7, VMA-323 ComdDs, Oct 52; Heinl, memo. 

8 llthMar ComdD, Oct 52, App III, Sheet 3. Eighteen of the weapons (the 623d 
Field Artillery Battalion) had just moved into the Marine sector and begun operating 
on 14 October. The unit remained under I Corps operational control, with the mission 
of providing general support reinforcing fire. 


Operations in West Korea 

Battery, 204th Field Artillery Battalion (155mm guns), like the other 
Army units positioned in the Marine Division sector, reinforced the 
fires of division artillery. Fire support from 1st Commonwealth 
Division weapons within range of the Hook area could also be 
depended upon. 

Although the Army artillery units satisfied the heavy punch 
requirement of the 11th Marines, commanded since 21 September 
by Colonel Harry N. Shea, there was one basic element the regiment 
lacked. This missing ingredient was a sufficient amount of ammuni- 
tion for the howitzers. Defense of outposts and mainline positions 
along the EUSAK front in early and mid-October 1952 consumed a 
great deal of this type of ammunition. This heavy expenditure was 
brought to the attention of the corps commanders by Eighth Army. 
General Van Fleet pointed out that ammunition consumption rates 
for both the 105mm and 155mm howitzers during these two critical 
weeks in October not only exceeded the expenditures of the massive 
Communist spring offensive in 1951 but also the UN counterstroke 
that followed. 9 

To help remedy the situation, the EUSAK commander urged "con- 
tinuous command supervision to insure the maximum return for all 
ammunition expended." 10 The general made it plain that he was 
not changing his policy of exacting a heavy toll whenever the 
enemy began an attack. This course had been followed by the 1st 
Marine Division, but the Marines' ability to both restrict the 
enemy's creeping tactics and simultaneously fight a siege-type war 
was noticeably impeded. 11 

As the end of October approached, the shortage of ammunition 
was becoming a subject of increased concern to the frontline Marine 
units. Daily allowances established for the last 11 days of the month 
were 20 rounds of 105mm high explosive (HE) and 4.3 rounds of 
155mm high explosive for each tube. 12 With such small quantities 

9 Later in 1951, during the UN Summer-Fall offensive, ammunition consumption had 
again risen sharply, creating concern among corps commanders and occasioning one of 
them to remark to a subordinate, "We have the distinct impression that two of your 
battalions are trying to compete for a world's record." Capt Edward C. Williamson, el. al., 
"Bloody Ridge," ms OCMH, 1951, cited in James A. Huston, The Sinews of War: 
Army Logistics, 1775-1953 — The Army Historical Series (Washington: OCMH, 1966), 
v. II, p. 632. 

10 IstMaiDiv ComdD, Oct 52, App I, No. 19. 

11 PacFlt EvalRpt No. 5, Chap. 8, p. 8-71. 

12 I hid. 

The Hook 


to fire and further restricted by an equally critical shortage of both 
hand grenades and 81mm mortar rounds, Colonel Moore was almost 
powerless to spike the Chinese preparations for assault of the 
Hook. 13 Artillery fires were reserved for only the most urgent situa- 
tions or for large bodies of troops. It was one observer's opinion that 
the "enemy could show himself almost at will without receiving 
fire, and that it was impossible either to harass or neutralize his 
continual fortification activity, let alone embark upon systematic 
destructive fires of the kind he was carrying out." 14 

As a means of compensating for the shortage of 81mm mortar 
and 105mm howitzer ammunition, the Marines reverted to a former 
method of using machine guns. This technique, employed during the 
trench warfare days of World War I but seldom thereafter, was 
considered a useful expedient to discourage enemy defensive creep- 
ing tactics as well as to deter his preparations for objective attacks. 
The system required emplacing heavy machine guns both on and to 
the rear of the MLR to fire into areas that troops used for assembly 
or as check points. If the target was visible to the machine gunner, 
he could take it under direct fire. At night, when the enemy operated 
under cover of darkness, the machine guns fired into zones which 
had already been registered in the daytime. Colonel Moore directed 
his units on 23 October to resort to this expedient. 

A 1st Marine Division daily intelligence report covering the 24- 
hour period beginning at 1800 on 24 October noted that there was 
"a marked increase in enemy artillery and mortar fire with an 
estimated twelve hundred rounds falling in the CT 1010 area of the 
7th Marines sector." 13 According to the division PIR there was also 
an increased number of enemy troops observed that same day in 
locations west and northwest of the Hook. Most of the fire was 
directed against the Hook area of the MLR and on the two sentinels, 
Ronson and Warsaw. Efforts by Marines and some 250 KSCs to 
repair the damaged or destroyed bunkers, trenches, communications 
lines, and tactical wire, during brief periods of relief from the 
artillery deluges, were wiped out again by subsequent shellings. 

13 For example, during the latter part of the month each rifle company in the Hook 
battalion was limited to 150 hand grenades. The total 11-day allowance for Lieutenant 
Colonel Dulacki's 81mm mortars was 475 rounds. 1/7 ComdD, Oct 52, App. III. 

14 Heinl, memo. 

15 IstMarDiv PIR 729, dtd 24 Oct 52, p. 2. Ronson, the Hook, and Warsaw are 
within the 1,000-meter square, CT 1010. 


Operations in West Korea 

It would not be correct to say that 1 /7 remained entirely passive 
at this time. Battalion weapons replied, though in faint voices barely 
audible in the din created by Chinese firing. Regimental mortars 
chimed in and so did 2/11, which fired 4l6 rounds in the 24 hours 
ending at 1800 on the 24th. For that same period, tanks expended 
137 rounds at active weapon positions firing on the Hook. One air 
strike was directed against the enemy opposing the Hook battalion. 
This attack by a quartet of Marine F9Fs from VMF-311 (Lieutenant 
Colonel Arthur H. Adams) bombed and napalmed a troublesome 
group of Chinese entrenched on the enemy MLR 750 yards east of 
the Hook. 

During the next 48 hours, the enemy continued his preparations 
for an attack, concentrating his artillery fire on the Hook area. 
Colonel Moore's battalions received approximately 2,850 artillery 
and mortar rounds, most of which rained down on 1/7 to the right. 
There, the heavy and continuous fire slowed Marine efforts to restore 
their wrecked bunkers and trenches. Late on the 25th there was 
some relief from the artillery bombardment, but by that time many 
of the prophets on the line and in the rear area were uncertain only 
as to the precise time of the unexpected Chinese attack. 

Colonel Clarence A. Barninger, the division intelligence officer, 
had himself alerted General Pollock to the implications of "the 
intensification and character of enemy fires" 10 being received in the 
1/7 sector. The intelligence evaluation was not based only on recent 
events. A detailed study of Chinese capabilities and possible courses 
of action had just been completed by the G-2 and his staff. In its 
discussion of the early October outpost attacks in the division right, 
the report concluded that Chinese interests lay in gaining the "terrain 
dominating the Samichon Valley. . . ." 1T 

Since 5 October when 1/7 had been moved into the line as the 
regiment's third MLR battalion, the enemy had begun a regular 
shelling of 1/7 positions adjacent to the Hook. Incoming rounds 
had increased almost daily. "Troops, vehicles, and tanks moving 
in daylight even behind the MLR almost invariably brought down 
enemy artillery or mortars upon them. It was apparent that the 
enemy was making preparation for a large scale assault in this 

10 Heinl, memo. 

17 IstMarDiv Intell. Est., dtd 19 Oct 52, p. 8, filed with the divisions PIRs for that 

The Hook 


portion of the MLR," 18 the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel 
Dulacki, later recalled. Matters took an even more ominous turn 
about 23 October when the Chinese "began a deliberate, deadly 
accurate precision fire aimed at destruction of the major fortifications 
in the Hook's system of dug-in defense." 18 As the tempo of this 
fire stepped up daily, the destruction of the battalion's carefully 
prepared defenses exceeded the Marines' ability to repair the dam- 
age. The artillery build-up was believed preparatory to an attempt 
to either seize or breach the MLR. 

In late October, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki had two companies 
on the MLR to protect this important area. On the 23d, Captain 
Frederick C. McLaughlin's Company A was assigned the left part 
of the battalion sector, which included the Hook. A squad outposted 
Ronson and a reinforced platoon was stationed at Warsaw. At 0200 
on the 26th, Company C (Captain Paul B. Byrum) departed the 
battalion reserve area to take over responsibility as the left MLR 
company. Relief of Company A was completed at 04l0. 20 Holding 
down the right flank of the main line during this time was Company 
B (Captain Dexter E. Evans) . This area was larger but somewhat 
less rugged than the western part of the 1/7 sector. 

In the two days immediately preceding the Chinese attack of 26 
October, 1/7 received a limited amount of support intended to 
harass the enemy and throw him off balance, if possible. Tanks fired 
their 90s at bunkers, caves, trenches, and direct fire weapons in the 
enemy sector. On the 25th, Company A of the 1st Tank Battalion 
blasted away 54 times at these targets; on the next day, Captain 
Clyde W. Hunter's gunners more than tripled their previous day's 
output, firing 173 high explosive shells. Artillery, in the meantime, 
stepped up its rate of fire on the 25th, when Lieutenant Colonel 
Davis' 2/11 fired 575 rounds, followed by 506 more the next day. 
The division general support battalion, 4/11, fired a total of 195 
rounds on these two days. 21 Nearly half were to assist the 7th 

18 Dulacki Itr. 

19 Heinl, memo. 

20 Due to the width of the Hook sector, it was necessary to keep all three rifle platoons 
in the line. A reinforced platoon from the battalion reserve outposted Warsaw. While 
Company A was on line, a Company C platoon manned the outpost; when Company C 
was relieved on 26 October, a Company A platoon was sent to Warsaw. Maj Frederick 
C. McLaughlin Itr to Dir, MCHist, HQMC, dtd 27 Jan 70, hereafter McLaughlin Itr. 

21 On 24 October, Battery M of the battalion was temporarily relaid to provide addi- 
tional support to Colonel Moore's regiment. 


Operations in West Korea 

Marines. On both days the regiment received the benefit of 4.5-inch 
rocket ripples. 

Air support just prior to the attack was increased slightly, but 
only two strikes were flown for the Hook battalion. At 1535 on the 
25th, two Corsair fighters and a pair of AUs, the attack version of 
the Corsair, dive-bombed a section of Chinese trench that housed 
a number of weapons bothersome to the Marines nearby. 22 The 
four VMA-323 aircraft claimed destruction of 40 yards of trench 
and damage to 35 yards more. The target was 1,000 yards southwest 
of the Hook. Next morning the squadron sent three of its famed 
fighters against bunker positions on a hill 900 yards west of the 
1/7 salient. This mission had been prebriefed to attack enemy 
artillery positions opposite the KMC line. Instead, the flight was 
diverted to take on the bunkers, which represented, at that time, 
more of a menace to the division. The attack destroyed one bunker, 
damaged another, and produced an estimated seven casualties. 

Hidden nearby the area of this air strike in the early morning 
hours of 26 October was the Chinese infantry unit which later that 
same day would attack the Hook. Before daybreak the 3d Battalion, 
357th Regiment, had moved from an area nearly two miles west 
of the Hook. The forward elements, two companies, with two day's 
rations for each man, halted about a mile from their objective. 
There the Chinese remained throughout most of the 26th, carefully 
concealing themselves from observation by friendly forces. 23 While 
the enemy troops were lying low, their mortars and artillery began 
the final preparatory fires. 

22 The flight had been scheduled to attack active artillery positions V/i miles north 
of the Carson-Reno-Vegas area. When some of their ordnance was unexpended after 
putting these guns out of action, the planes, were ordered to take on the trench target. 

23 Within the division there were no reports of sightings of unusually large groups 
of enemy soldiers in this area. In fact, there were fewer enemy seen on the 26th than 
any other day since 18 October. During the 23d and 24th, about 100 enemy had been 
observed almost a half mile closer to the Hook than the hideout area used on the 26th. 
llthMar ComdD, Oct. 52, p. 12; IstMarDiv PIR 729, dtd 24 Oct 52, p. 2. 

The Hook 
Attack on the Hook 


On the morning of 26 October, Chinese artillery and mortar fire 
striking the MLR slackened a bit but was still sufficiently heavy in 
the vicinity of the Hook to prevent visitors in the area any direct 
observation from the salient. During his inspection of Hook defenses 
that morning, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki was knocked to the ground 
by the concussion of an enemy artillery round exploding nearby. 25 
In the afternoon, enemy shelling continued at a steady pace, but 
towards the end of the day intense mixed artillery and mortar fire 
increased to preattack proportions. Dusk brought no relief from the 
enemy's supporting weapons. 

Out at the flanking positions, Ronson and Warsaw, there was 
little change in the intensity of the enemy shelling for the remainder 
of the afternoon. Bunkers and trenches were caved in, just as they 
were on the Hook 20 from the preparatory fires that had been building 
up over a period of days. (For a sketch of the Hook battle area on 
26 October, see Map 16.) Enemy shelling had also produced a num- 
ber of casualties. Marines at Ronson were the first to experience the 
enemy's ground assault. At 1810 the outpost reported an increased 
rate of mortar and artillery rounds exploding on the position. Two 
groups of enemy soldiers were seen moving towards the outpost, one 
from the east and the other from the west. Ronson Marines took 
these advancing soldiers under fire immediately. 

Initially, the radio messages from Ronson reported that the attack- 
ing force was a company, but a later estimate of approximately 50 
Chinese appeared to be more nearly correct. Communist infantry 

2i Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, 26 Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 723, 734, dtd 27, 
29 Oct 52; 7thMar, 11th Mar, 1/7, 4/11, 1st TkBn, VMF(N)-513 ComdDs, Oct 52; 
Heinl, memo. 

25 The 1/7 commander, who was uninjured by the blast, might have become a believer 
that day in the military cliche. "Rank hath its privileges," for Brigadier A. H. G. 
Ricketts (29th British Infantry Brigade, 1st Commonwealth Division), who was stand- 
ing near Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki, was untouched. The British division was sched- 
uled to take over responsibility for the Hook sector in early November. 

20 Prior to the enemy's steady shelling of the Hook, the trenches were six feet deep. 
The preparatory fires of the past several days had been so intense that in nearly all 
areas the trenchline had been leveled by the time of the Chinese attack. "I am con- 
vinced that the Chinese didn't realize that they had penetrated our MLR or they would 
have exploited the penetration." Col Russell E. Honsowetz It r to Dir, MCHist, HQMC, 
dtd 26 Jan 70. 







3 = 

. . _ y 

I / 



Tank Road 

A Marine Combat Outpost 
M Farmer COP 


1800,26 October 1952 

100 200 300 400 500 


MAP 16 

K. While 

The Hook 


made their way through the defensive artillery barrages requested 
by the COP garrison and into the rifle and machine gun fire of the 
Marines. By 1838 the enemy had overrun the squad of Marines and 
was in possession of Ronson. No one had escaped from the outpost. 

At this time, 800 yards northeast, the 9th Company, 357th 
Battalion was working its way towards Warsaw. Striking at the 
COP from both east and west, the enemy company was momentarily 
halted by extremely heavy Marine mortar and artillery fire. By 1820, 
the platoon at Warsaw had requested the protective box around its 
position; this fire the 11th Marines delivered promptly. Still the 
Chinese continued to besiege the position and Company A defending 
Marines, under outpost commander Second Lieutenant John Babson, 
Jr., were locked in a hand-to-hand struggle. As a platoon was being 
readied to reinforce Warsaw the outpost reported, at 1907, that 
enemy soldiers had reached the Marine bunkers and that the 
defenders were using bayonets, pistols, hand grenades, and both 
ends of their rifles to repel the Communist invaders. 

Three minutes later came the word, "We're being overrun." With 
this message all communication from the outpost temporarily ceased, 
but at 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's CP heard Warsaw report 
heavy fighting still in progress there. The outpost first stated that 
enemy soldiers were on top of the bunkers; then called for "VT on 
own position" which the 11th Marines furnished. 

The seriousness of the situation was immediately apparent at 
higher commands. One outpost had been lost; a second was in 
jeopardy. At about this time, a veritable avalanche of enemy artillery 
and mortar fire began to blanket the Hook. Colonel Moore released 
Captain McLaughlin's company to 1/7. The 7th Marines commander 
also ordered regimental ammunition supplies be allotted to Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Dulacki's area. Shortly after that, division lifted 
ammunition restrictions on 1/7. 

To counter the impending ground attack, at 1859 Lieutenant Col- 
onel Dulacki ordered Captain McLaughlin's Company A forward to 
reinforce the Hook sector and to assist Company C in containing 
the enemy attack. One platoon, the 1st, departed immediately for 
the MLR. As the remainder of the company prepared to move out, 
the enemy struck in estimated battalion strength. By 1938 some of 
the CCF infantry had advanced to the main trenches immediately 
south of the Hook. Within a few minutes, a second wave of Com- 


Operations in West Korea 

munist soldiers, following closely the preparatory barrages, hit 
JAMESTOWN just east of the l/7 salient and frontally at the Hook 
itself. It appeared that the Communists had come to stay, for many 
cargo carriers — Chinese with construction materials for bunkers 
and trenches — accompanied the attacking infantry. 

Fire fights raged during the early phase of the struggle, with 
continuous support furnished the assault troops by Chinese artillery 
and mortars. The momentum of the enemy's three-pronged attack, 
aided by heavy rear area fire support, enabled the Chinese to overrun 
the trenches and push on along the crest of the ridge, its slope near 
the spine, and across the segments formed by the spurs that jutted 
south from the crest. Marine defenders pulled back while a small 
rear guard covered their movement with fire. Along the MLR, about 
400 yards south of the Hook, the Chinese had slipped around the 
flanks of the COP and at 2030 forced a penetration in the C/l/7 
line. Second Lieutenant John W. Meikle (1st Platoon, Company C) 
organized the Marines into a perimeter defense adjacent to the 
MLR. At 2130, remaining elements of the company formed another 
defense blocking area 550 yards east of the Hook near the crest of 
the ridge. 

Between these two positions small groups of Marines continued 
the heavy close fight to repulse the enemy while inching their way 
forward to tie-in with the rest of the unit. (See Map 17 for pene- 
tration limits during the Hook battle.) To the northeast, the platoon 
at Warsaw had not been heard from since 1945, and at 2330, 
Colonel Moore reluctantly declared the outpost to be in enemy hands. 

At the time the loss of Warsaw was announced, counter-measures 
designed to halt the enemy assault were in various stages of prep- 
aration or completion. The initial reinforcing element sent forward 
to strengthen the main line had linked up with Lieutenant Meikle's 
1st Platoon, Company C, in the perimeter near the 3d Battalion 
boundary. The remainder of Company A was en route to the crest 
of the east-west ridge to thwart what appeared to be the main 
enemy drive. Colonel Moore had released his meager reserve, H/3/7, 
at 0300 on the 27th, and General Pollock had ordered one of the 
division reserve battalions, 3/1, to the 7th Marines area, although 
still retaining operational control of the unit. 

As the forward battalion of the division reserve, 3/1 (Lieutenant 
Colonel Altman) had prepared counterattack plans for critical loca- 











A Morine Combot Outpost 

A Former COP 
— Morine Counterattack 
— «^ Chinese Attack 

Tonk Rood 

. . • 2130 26 Oct. 
o a o 0530 27 Oct. 
1400 27 Oct. 


26-27 October 1952 

100 200 300 400 500 

MAP 17 

K. While 


Operations in West Korea 

tions in the division sector and had previously made a reconnais- 
sance of the Hook area. The battalion immediately displaced from 
its bivouac site north of the Imjin (Camp Rose) to an assembly area 
behind the 7th Marines on the MLR. 

All possible support for 1/7 was made available, since the critical 
situation resulting from the major enemy assault automatically sus- 
pended previous restrictions on use of artillery and mortar allow- 
ances. At Warsaw, 2/11 blanketed the position with a continuous 
barrage in order to limit the enemy's ability to effectively hold and 
consolidate the captured COP. Lieutenant Colonel Davis' cannoneers 
also blasted enemy formations in response to fire missions from 
forward observers. Artillery rounds fell on Chinese outposts support- 
ing the attack, on approach routes to the battleground, on assembly 
areas, and on known and suspected Chinese artillery locations. 

Marine aviation and tanks were employed as part of the plan to 
first limit the penetration made by the enemy before the counter- 
attack to expel him. A section of tanks had been firing since 1930 
against the enemy main line; a second section joined the direct fire 
assault a half hour later. At 2113, one F7F, with 1,300 pounds of 
bombs, hit a portion of the enemy's MSR. At 2306, another twin- 
engine Grumman Tigercat blasted the same area, about three- 
quarters of a mile west of the Hook. These initial one-plane strikes 
in support of the defense of the salient were flown by Captain Leon 
C. Cheek, Jr. and Major Laurel M. Mickelson, respectively, of 

Reno Demonstration™ 

At 0030 on the 27th, Major Mickelson, returning from his MPQ 
attack, touched his Tigercat down at K-8 (Kunsan). At the very 
moment that the plane set down on the Kunsan runway, the Chinese 
launched another assault against the 7th Marines, the second in less 
than six hours. This later action, in Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's 
2/7 sector, nearly two miles west of the Hook, was not a surprise 
move either. In fact, an attack against the Carson-Reno-Vegas area 
had been anticipated for some time, and it was this state of pre- 

27 The material in this section has been derived from 7thMar, "Summary of Action, 
26 Oct-1 Nov 52, Hook, Reno, Ronson"; 2/7 ComdD, Oct 52. 

The Hook 


paredness that throttled the enemy's attempt to seize an outpost here. 

Division intelligence had accumulated considerable evidence that 
the Chinese buildup in late October was intended to ultimately clear 
the way to the 2/7 outposts rather than those of 1/7 in the eastern 
Hook area. A majority of the Marine supporting arms effort immedi- 
ately prior to 1800 on the 26th had gone to the left battalion of 
Colonel Moore's regiment. Aware of the interest the enemy had 
shown in the outposts earlier in the month, the battalion commander 
had strengthened the defense of this key area. One measure, increas- 
ing the size of the ambush force maintained at night near Reno from 
a squad to a platoon, was to pay handsome dividends before October 
was over. 

Just after dark on the 26th, a reinforced platoon from Captain 
James R. Flores' Company E departed the MLR on a combat patrol 
and ambush mission. After reaching its assigned area, about 300 
yards short of the hill that housed COP Reno, the ambush platoon 
disappeared into camouflaged dug-in positions and waited. At mid- 
night, the Marines were alerted by faint noises to the front. There, 
elements of two Chinese companies, which had stealthily maneu- 
vered into the ambush area, were organizing for a sneak assault by 
an envelopment on Reno from the rear. (See Map 18.) The waiting 
platoon apprised the outpost of the enemy's presence in the area; 
then when it appeared that the Chinese were about to launch their 
assault, the ambushers opened fire. 

As the surprised Chinese turned to take on the hidden ambush 
platoon, the two defending squads at Reno began firing. It took 10 
minutes before the Chinese were sufficiently recovered to organize 
a withdrawal. At 0040, enemy elements quickly began to pull back 
towards the north. The outpost had been spared a major action, but 
its occupants were to be again engaged by the Chinese before 

At 0400, one platoon from a third CCF company, approaching 
from an enemy hill to the northeast, hit Reno. The attack was con- 
ducted in a fashion not previously experienced by the 1st Marine 
Division in West Korea — platoons echeloned in depth, assaulting 
in successive waves. The first unit to reach Reno was composed of 
grenade throwers and supporting riflemen. This advance element 
was followed immediately by the rest of the platoon, infantry armed 
with submachine guns and rifles. Marines on Reno were not troubled 



1 / 






27 October 1952 

p 10 200 300 400 50 

MAP 18 


The Hook 


by the initial platoon asault, but the second one made some inroads 
before the defenders' fires forced the enemy to pull back. A third 
two-phased attack succeeded, however, in cracking the defenses at 
the northeast section of the position. The outpost commander then 
ordered his Marines into the bunkers and called for overhead 
artillery fire. Caught in the open, the Chinese were forced to with- 
draw at 0440 and did not return. 


After the Marines in Lieutenant Colonel Caputo's 2/7 sector had 
dealt with the demonstration force, the action shifted back to the 
Hook. Early on the morning of the 27th, Captain McLaughlin's 
unit, sent to the Hook-Hill 146 crest to block the penetration of the 
MLR, had established contact with Captain Byrum's Company C, 
passed through its lines, and pressed on to the Hook. Suddenly, 
enemy small arms and machine guns opened up on lead elements 
of Company A. Artillery and mortar fire then began to hit the com- 
pany. The Marines continued their advance and made some progress 
in arresting the Chinese thrust at the ridge. Shortly thereafter the 
enemy called in heavy supporting fires, forcing Company A to halt 
its attack temporarily. When the company commander ordered his 
men to resume the advance, overwhelming enemy fire again slowed 
the movement. McLaughlin then ordered his men to hold and dig in. 

When report of the Company A situation reached the regimental 
CP, Colonel Moore ordered into action his last reserve unit, Captain 
Bernard B. Belant's Company H.-' ! ' He was directed to report to 1/7, 
then to pass through the depleted ranks of Company A, and take 
up the attack downridge towards the salient. At 0340 the regiment 
attached H/3/7 to 1/7 for operational control; at 0505 the company 
arrived at the 1st Battalion CP. Forty minutes later, Company H 
reached Captain McLaughlin's area, where it regrouped and then 
deployed toward the ridgeline for the counterattack. 

- s Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, dtd 27-28 Oct 52; 7thMar, llthMar, l/7, 4/11, 
1st TkBn, VMAs-121, -212, -323 ComdDs, Oct. 52. 

'"'At 0545 on the 25th, Company I (Captain John Thomas), then the regimental 
reserve, and Captain Belant's Company H, responsible for the right sector of 3/7, had 
exchanged roles. 


Operations in West Korea 

When Captain Belant led his Marines towards the Hook to oust 
the Chinese, the enemy drive had reached the point of its deepest 
penetration. By this time the Chinese had seized control of slightly 
more than a mile of the meandering MLR. Most of the captured 
main defense line extended from the Hook east along the ridge 
towards Hill 146. (One-third of the Communist advance was from 
the Hook southwest, in the direction of the 3d Battalion boundary.) 
Between 0545 and 0800, H/3/7 worked its way towards the Hook- 
Hill 146 crest. After two hours the company was at the ridgeline, 
and at 0800 Captain Belant was ready to move forward towards the 
salient, a straight-line distance of about a half-mile. On the hour, 
the push downridge started. After having advanced about 200 yards, 
the H/3/7 Marines were assailed by small arms fire and the rain 
of heavy caliber rounds supporting the enemy's thrust. Captain 
Belant signalled his Marines to attack. 

Immediately, Second Lieutenant George H. O'Brien, Jr. leaped 
up from his position and shouted for his platoon to follow. On the 
run, he zigzagged across the exposed ridge and continued down the 
front slope towards the main trench. Before reaching this objective, 
the platoon commander was knocked to the ground by the impact of 
a single bullet. Scrambling quickly to his feet he motioned for his 
men to follow and took off on the run for the enemy-occupied 
trenchline. Again he stopped, this time to assist an injured Marine. 

As he neared the trenchline, Lieutenant O'Brien started to throw 
a hand grenade into the enemy-occupied bunkers, but was stopped 
by the Chinese. With his carbine, the officer methodically eliminated 
this resistance, then hurled the grenades. Overcoming this position, 
the Texas Marine and his platoon advanced towards the Hook, but 
the enemy, now partly recovered, was able to slow and ultimately 
stop the counterattack. A profusion of artillery and mortar fire was 
primarily responsible for halting the advance, which had carried 
Company H very close to the Hook bunkers. 

Spurred on by the leadership of Lieutenant O'Brien, who later 
received the Medal of Honor, 30 the company was able to execute 

30 Another Medal of Honor resulting from the Hook action was awarded posthu- 
mously to Second Lieutenant Sherrod E. Skinner, Jr. for "conspicuous gallantry and 
intrepidity." Lieutenant Skinner, whose twin brother was also a Marine officer, had been 
assigned as an artillery forward observer with F/2/ll. When the Chinese attack hit 
the MLR, Lieutenant Skinner organized the surviving Marines in defense of their ob- 
servation post. Fighting off the enemy and calling down defensive artillery fire on the 

The Hook 


a limited advance. Despite the heavy artillery and mortar fire, the 
company drove a wedge into the Communist position, thereby 
retaking the initiative from the enemy. Company H also took three 
prisoners in the southeast end of the Hook before being forced by 
a deadly enemy mortar and artillery barrage to withdraw upridge. 

The attack by Company H had been well supported from the 
air. At 0840, a flight of four ADs from Lieutenant Colonel Cargill's 
VMA-121 assaulted the former Marine COP Seattle, where enemy 
reinforcements were being funneled through on the way to the Hook. 
Bombs and napalm took a heavy toll of the troops, bunkers, and 
weapons pouring fire on the counterattacking Marines. One hour 
later, a division (four planes) from VMA-323 struck another 
trouble spot, a former Marine outpost known as Irene (later, Rome). 
Aircraft of Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain's squadron hit this 
objective with three tons of bombs and more than 4,000 pounds of 
burning napalm. Thirty minutes later, another foursome, these from 
VMA-212, (Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Dobson, Jr.), 31 delivered 
bombs, napalm, and 20mm shells on enemy soldiers moving on the 

While these three squadrons were bombing enemy strongpoints 
and other targets of opportunity, division artillery and tanks con- 
tinued their destructive fire missions. Between 0930 and 1300, two 
tanks from Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, blasted away at Chinese 
bunkers and trenches, at an enemy 76mm gun on Seattle, and at 
positions southwest of the Hook. Artillery — 2/11, 4/11, and the 
rocket battery — contributed the weight of its support. The 11th 
Marines, in an effort to stop the heavy hostile shelling of the Hook 
sector, fired 60 counterbattery missions on Chinese gun emplacements 
during the first 24 hours of the attack. 

In the early afternoon of the 27th, 1st MAW attack squadrons 
continued their bombing and strafing of enemy troops engaged in 

assaulting Chinese, he delayed capture of the position. Twice he left the bunker to 
direct fire on the enemy and get more ammunition. 

When the Communists finally overran the bunker, Lieutenant Skinner instructed his 
fellow Marines to pretend they were dead; during the next three hours several different 
enemy groups frisked the inert Marines without discovering their ruse. Later, when a 
skeptical enemy soldier hurled a grenade into the bunker, Lieutenant Skinner unhesi- 
tatingly rolled on top of the missile, shielding the two surviving Marines. By thus 
absorbing the full force of the explosion, he sacrificed his life for theirs. (2dLt Sherrod 
E. Skinner, Jr. Biog. File) 

31 The new squadron commander had relieved Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Fletcher 
two days earlier. This flight was the first of two CAS attacks in behalf of the Hook 
forces that the new commanding officer participated in that day. 


Operations in West Korea 

the assault against the Hook. Before sundown, 30 aircraft had taken 
part in 8 additional strikes in support of Marine counterattacks along 
the ridge. The number of aircraft involved in close air support sorties 
for the Hook was approximately half the number received by the 
division all day. Of the 72 aircraft flying CAS strikes during the first 
24 hours of the Hook action, 67 were Marine planes, all from 

As in the morning's close air support flights, Lieutenant Colonel 
Cargill's ADs provided the bulk of air support for ground action 
that afternoon. Striking first a command post southeast of the 1/7 
salient, at 1410, VMA-121 came back a half-hour later with four 
more Skyraiders against CCF troops pressing to envelop the right 
flank of the counterattack force. At 1635, two squadron aircraft flew 
in quickly in response to a sighting of troops moving forward in the 
Samichon tributary 1,000 yards north of the Hook. Twenty minutes 
after this successful attack, four more Skyraiders attacked bunkers 
opposite the left flank of Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's sector. The 
final daylight strike for 1/7 was again made by four ADs from 
-121. These planes took under attack a target that had been 
bombarded just 25 minutes earlier by Corsairs from VMA-323. 

Another Marine attack squadron, VMA-212, participated in the 
Hook support that afternoon. At 1344, a four-plane flight assaulted 
troops moving through Frisco to reinforce the Chinese drive on the 
Hook. Two of the planes dropped three 1,000-pound bombs and two 
250-pounders on the enemy soldiers. The other pair of attack Corsairs 
released six 780-pound napalm tanks over the position. It was esti- 
mated that 25 Chinese casualties resulted from this air attack. Wrap- 
ping up the VMA-212 CAS for the Hook sector on the 27th was 
a strike, at 1440, on camouflaged positions and another at 1520 
against caves and bunkers. Each of these air assaults took place about 
950 yards from the Hook. The earlier one was a napalm attack from 
50 feet above the ground. One of the six tanks would not release 
and three did not ignite. Four caves were destroyed and one bunker 
was damaged in the latter strikes. 

Between the morning and afternoon air strikes, the ground com- 
manders put together the final plans for recapture and defense of the 
Hook. When General Pollock had released I/3/l to the regiment 
during an inspection trip to the 1/7 area that morning, the company 
was already en route to the ridge to make the counterattack. The 

The Hook 


ground commanders agreed that after 1/3/1 regained the salient, 
H/3/1 would take over the right sector of 1/7 and the relieved 
company, B/l/7, would then occupy both the critical MLR sector 
and Warsaw. Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's scheme to recapture the 
positions and ground lost on 26 October was a continuation of the 
attack from atop the ridge directly towards the objective. It was to 
be a hard-nosed, frontal assault, but the only maneuver deemed 

Clearing the Company C command post about noon, the lead 
elements of Captain Murray V. Harlan, Jr.'s Company I, the 1st 
Platoon, continued its route to the ridge. After the 40 Marines had 
gained the crest, they quickly reoriented themselves to the new 
direction, and at 1350, led the 1/3/1 assault. Artillery preparation by 
the 11th Marines had preceded the crossing of the line of departure, 
and these supporting fires were partially responsible for the sub- 
stantial initial advance made by the counterattacking Marines. But 
Chinese artillery was not idle at this time either, and the volume of 
enemy fire matched that of the Marines. The 1/3/1 movement for- 
ward was also slowed by Communist soldiers, estimated at about a 
company, who fired from protected positions along the perimeter of 
the Hook. 

Inch by inch the company crawled forward. The vicious Chinese 
supporting barrages were exacting many casualties among Captain 
Harlan's troops, 32 yet they crept on, and ultimately reached the 
artillery forward observer bunker atop the ridge but 150 yards short 
of the Hook trenches. At this time, 1635, the enemy supporting fires 
were directed not only on the advancing Marines and the MLR 
defenses but extended as far back as the regimental CP. 33 Chinese 
soldiers still clung to some of the Hook positions and trenches of the 
MLR just below the crest on the northern sides. Marines closest to 
the Hook could see the virtual ruination caused by enemy artillery 
and mortar shells to the trench system within the salient. 

Nearing their objective, elements of Company I pressed on with 
even more determination. By 1700 a few had made it to the shell- 
torn ditches, where they sought momentary refuge to reorganize. 
Several more joined, and together they reconnoitered the trenches 

"-'During this action, the company suffered 15 killed, 71 seriously wounded, and 6 
slightly wounded. 3/1 ComdD, Oct. 52, p. 3. 
IstMarDiv G-3 Jnl, dtd 27 Oct 52. 


Operations in West Korea 

and bunkers for enemy soldiers. Just then the Communists reacted 
with an even heavier supporting arms assault, which forced these few 
Marines to pull back with their platoon to the reverse slope of the 
ridge. To the right, about 250 yards away, the main body of Company 
I Marines occupied the reverse side of the hill, riding out the 
onslaught of artillery and mortar rounds while they waited for a 
lull before making the final dash to recapture the lost area of 

While Captain Harlan's company was exposed to this extremely 
heavy enemy artillery fire, another unit, B/l/7, was on the move 
from Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's command post to the ridge to 
strike what was intended as a lethal blow to the Communist invaders. 
At 1932, Company B began its march forward. By midnight, the 1st 
Platoon was nearing its assault position close to the left flank of 
Company I of 3/1. Simultaneously, the 3d Platoon closed in on its 
jump-off point. The going was extremely difficult, complicated by a 
moonless night and the many shell craters that pockmarked the 
terrain. But at 0019, 28 October, the platoons mounted their assault, 
firing their rifles and machine guns, and hurling grenades to silence 
enemy automatic weapons and to reach dug-in Communist soldiers 
occupying the trenchline. 

The Marine charge was met by a burst of small arms fire and a 
shower of grenades. Weapons supporting the Chinese defense were 
still very active. After a standoff of 90 minutes the Marines pulled 
back, calling on their mortars and artillery to lay precise fire concen- 
trations on the trouble spots. The weapons also fired on enemy 
approach routes through Ronson and Warsaw. After this preparation, 
Company B again made an assault against the enemy, at 0340. This 
advance was contested vigorously by the Chinese, but their resistance 
this time was not lasting. Quickly B/l/7 Marines deployed through- 
out the entire area, and by 0600 the Hook was again in Marine 

Before the victors could permit themselves the luxury of a breath- 
ing spell, there were a number of critical tasks that demanded 
immediate attention. Defense of the MLR had to be quickly and 
securely shored up for a possible enemy counterattack. The newly 
rewon area had to be searched for Marines, both casualties and 
holdouts, and for Chinese diehards or wounded. The company had 
to be reorganized. In addition to these missions, there were two 

The Hook 


others, regaining Ronson and Warsaw. As it turned out, the duties 
were discharged nearly at the same time. COPs Ronson and Warsaw 
were reoccupied by the 7th Marines at 0630 and 0845, respectively, 
on 28 October. 

In organizing the recaptured position, the Marines were hampered 
to some extent by a dense ground fog. Nevertheless, work still went 
ahead on these necessary tasks. Most of the Hook area was held 
by Company B; the western part of the 1/7 line, south of the Hook, 
was still manned by the platoon from Company A and one from 
Company C. The 1st Platoon of Company B quickly searched the 
retaken area of the MLR (except the caved in parts of the trenchline 
and bunkers, which were investigated later) , but found no enemy 
soldiers. During the day, as Company B expanded its responsibility 
along the Marine main line, the platoons from A/1/7 and C/l/7 
were relieved to rejoin their companies. 34 Supplies began to move 
in, once the permanency of the defense had been established. 

Overview 3 " 

In evaluating the battle for the Hook, it would appear that the 
Chinese assault against Reno was merely a demonstration or feint. 
By making a sizable effort near the primary objective after the attack 
there was well under way, the Communists expected not to obscure 
the real target but rather to cause the Marines to hesitate in moving 
higher echelon reserves to influence the action at the Hook. It was 
to the credit of the ambush force that the Chinese ruse was 

Including losses from the Reno ambush, Marines estimated that 
the Chinese actions against that outpost cost the enemy 38 killed 
and 51 wounded. The COP defenders and the platoon that had 
surprised the enemy counted 22 dead Communist soldiers during 
and after the Reno action. Together with the Hook casualties, 

34 As a part of the reorganization, H/3/l remained in the right sector, and Company 
C, of the Hook battalion, filled in the middle. Company A was in position on the 
friendly side of that part of the ridge held by Captain Byrum's Company C. During the 
afternoon of the 28th, 1/3/1 and H/3/7 also left Lieutenant Colonel Dulacki's area to 
rejoin their parent organizations. 

35 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IstMarDiv 
ComdD, Oct 52; IstMarDiv PIRs 734-735, 741, dtd 29-30 Oct 52, 5 Nov. 52.